Kiko Matthews led a relatively normal life. She was a science teacher and life was good. Then things took a turn, changing her life forever. In 2009, Kiko was diagnosed with Cushing’s, a condition caused by a tumour on the pituitary gland, and nearly lost her life. Walking was a challenge, and climbing stairs a major achievement. She suffered from diabetes, insomnia, memory loss, psychosis, muscle wasting, osteoporosis, puffy face and stomach, and excessive hair growth. Kiko Matthews met her challenges head-on and made the decision to live her life and challenge both her mind and body to see what she was capable of. She did not disappoint.
“…I see challenge as an opportunity to develop skills and knowledge as well as resilience, confidence and relationships.” – Kiko Matthews
In 2012 Kiko was part of a team that drove to Uganda from the UK, where she stayed and worked for a while, moving on to Zanzibar before returning home to the UK. The lady loves adventure.
Kiko went on to co-found The Big Stand in 2015, a charity that aims to empower by means of education and inspire through adventure. The ultimate aim of the charity is to develop confidence while creating healthier people and environments.
The same year saw Kiko found SUPKiko. Her business gives stand up paddle-boarding lessons and was responsible for the birth of #trash4treats which combines SUP lessons and experiences with trash collecting from London waterways.
Her next challenge was crossing the Atlantic single-handed and unaided. Kiko had no formal rowing experience before this, but with the right coaching, she was soon doing well. But in 2017, just eight months before embarking on the journey, she was once again diagnosed with a tumour. After coming through the life-saving treatment in London’s King’s College Hospital, and at thirty-six years of age, Kiko decided to raise funds in gratitude.
Kiko Matthews broke the world record by six days, rowing 16 hours a day, seven days a week. Kiko Matthews is the fastest woman to row the Atlantic unaided, arriving in Barbados on 22 March 2018. Her 3,000-mile journey from Gran Canaria to Barbados took 49 days. She is only one of five women to have completed the crossing. True to her word, she raised over £70,000 to help build a new intensive care unit at King’s College Hospital in the process.
“The thought that eight months ago I was lying in hospital having my brain operated on and now I am here having rowed the Atlantic, I guess I am a bit proud. I have shown that anyone can attempt anything given the right attitude, belief, and support.” – Kiko Matthews
Kiko Matthes has a wealth of experience as a public speaker and has addressed gatherings that include the likes of Women of the Feature, Rathboes Wealth Investment, UBS Financial Services, Joyce Guinness Recruitment, and Agora Corporate Agency, to name but a few. She considers herself an advocate for women, inspiring women of all ages to achieve their own goals.
“I relate my own experiences and challenges I have faced, my successes, and how I have overcome adversity and failures; all issues that many women deal with on a daily basis.” – Kiko Matthews
"Her ability to maintain positive and optimistic is a testament to the fortitude of the human spirit and all that can be achieved when one truly believes in their own destiny. - she was fantastic! Her determination and resolve to get the most out of life whilst not giving in to setbacks along the way is exactly what is needed to inspire women everywhere! We wish her all the best in her quest and encourage everyone to help her on her way."
"Kikos talk is inspiring, original,personable and humouros. iti s incredible to think how someone so down to earth has shown such resilience and achieved so much, showing anything is possible. she is an inspiration to us all and her words of wisdom is an experience not to be missed!"
"Kiko’s talk at the Women of the future Summit was fantastic – her bravery in the face of such adversity was a real inspiration for all the delegates at the Summit. Her ability to maintain positive and optimistic is a testament to the fortitude of the human spirit and all that can be achieved when one truly believes in their own destiny."
"In November JG were lucky to have the pleasure of Kiko’s company as she joined us to give a talk about her solo transatlantic crossing attempt. Our clients and candidates from all across London came along to listen to her. It was a fabulous evening and the feedback we had afterwards was incredible. Everyone loved what Kiko had to say and couldn’t say enough how inspiring the talk was. Kiko is about to embark on an exciting and amazing adventure and having listened to her we all agreed that she is ready to take on the challenge. If anyone can do it, Kiko can!" "Loved the JG talk yesterday- I thought Kiko was inspirational- bonkers! Prince Harry has missed a trick.”feedback we had afterwards was incredible. Everyone loved what Kiko had to say and couldn’t say enough how inspiring the talk was. Kiko is about to embark on an exciting and amazing adventure and having listened to her we all agreed that she is ready to take on the challenge. If anyone can do it, Kiko can! Agora Panel/Talk Kiko - well you don't forget her!"