Cancer is a very dreaded disease that causes equal mental and physical harm and often breaks the resolve of many people. But for Elena Semechin, a 28-year-old swimmer from Germany, Cancer did not stop her, instead, it reminded her that life is short and she cannot sit and wait for things to get better.
It taught her that she has to work and fulfil her dreams while she still can and train for championships while on chemotherapy sessions. Elena’s passion for swimming became her driving force in her fight against cancer.
Who Is Elena Semechin?
Elena Krawzow was born on October 26, 1993, in a small village in Kazakhstan and later moved to Russia with her family. In Russia at the age of seven, she was diagnosed with macular degeneration that left her with only 3% of vision.
After going to a school for disabled children in Russia, at the age of 11 she moved to Germany. Despite her disability, she found passion in swimming and trained to become a Paralympic swimmer who specialises in freestyle and breaststroke.
In 2012, she won the silver medal in the 100 m breaststroke event at the London Paralympics. In 2016, at the Rio Paralympics, she landed in the fifth position in the same event. However, she constantly dreamed of securing a gold medal and her dream was fulfilled in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics when the then 27-year-old swimmer defeated British contender Rebecca Redfern to grab first place.
While Elena was celebrating her big win after years of hard work and planning to get married to her boyfriend and coach Philip Semechin, she was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2021 that washed away all her happiness.
The swimmer’s life was suddenly full of uncertainty and fear. However, she decided that she cannot stop living because of the fear of dying. Two days before her brain surgery, she got married to Philip and her first question to the doctor after her surgery was when can she train again?
One week after her surgery, she was back to pool training lightly at first. She gave time for her scars and body to heal and adjusted her chemotherapy sessions and training to promote good recovery.
Five months later, she competed in German Championship right after finishing one of her cycles of chemo. Although she came last place, it was a great comeback and the competition awakened her competing spirit once again.
The swimmer is still undergoing her chemotherapy and is getting ready to compete in the World Championships that will be held in June in Portugal after which she aims at claiming the gold again at the 2024 Paralympics in Paris. She has come to terms with the fact that she might have to live with cancer and has decided to not limit her dreams because of that.
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