Following a string of landmarks on her return to competition, Erin Kennedy could probably have been eligible for Athlete of the Month on any occasion this year.
Now, having won gold at the European Championships a year after being diagnosed with breast cancer, Kennedy has been named Athletes’ Athlete of the Month for May.
The award is voted for by Britain’s elite athletes, with Kennedy recognised by her peers on the World Class Programme.
The coxswain helped Britain’s PR3 mixed coxed four win gold at the European Championships having been given the all-clear for cancer in March. Victory in Slovenia was, in her words, the “cherry on top” after a number of milestones in her return.
Kennedy previously won gold at the 2022 European Championships in Munich in the PR3 mixed coxed four after her diagnosis, but then stepped away from the sport to focus on her cancer treatment. She has since undergone 15 rounds of chemotherapy and a double mastectomy.
Throughout her battle Kennedy has shared her story through insightful posts and interviews, striving to support others who may be in a similar situation.
“It’s amazing to be voted by your peers,” she tells the BEAA. “It’s something we don’t do a lot in our sport: we operate quite independently as a sport a lot of the time and [only] come together for a Games and things like that. I think it’s particularly special that it’s been voted for by my fellow athletes. I’m very proud; it tops off what’s been a really, really great month for me.”
Kennedy topped a nominee list comprised of Ros Canter (equestrian), Liam McGarry (para-powerlifting) and Stuart Wood (para-canoeing).
The Athletes’ Athlete of the Month award is given to elite British sportspeople for their achievements in competition or elsewhere, such as personal development, inspiring comebacks, charity work, awareness raising and more.
It celebrates successes across elite British sport, and commends more than just competitive accomplishment – with every winner decided by the athlete community.
Thank you to every athlete that voted, and congratulations to Erin for winning, as well as to Ros, Liam and Stuart for their nomination.
Elite British athletes, to cast your vote next time, keep an eye on your emails from the BEAA!
Read more from Erin as she shares more detail about her journey here.