Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Diana Golden, the Olympian who defied all odds

Take a leap into the inspiring life of para-olympian Diana Golden, who sadly lost her life to breast cancer.

Rhys James
25th October 2021
Image: Flickr
Warning: This article contains upsetting depictions of cancer and suicide attempts.

Para-Olympian Diana Golden won a gold medal in the 1998 Calgary Para-Olympics. Golden sadly lost her life in 2001 after being re-diagnosed with Breast Cancer in 1996.

Diana, 38, defied odds throughout her life. At twelve years old Dianna lost her right leg, just above the knee, to prevent her bone cancer from spreading. Even with her diagnoses, Diana went on to make history through achieving serval sporting accomplishments, as well as being a pioneer in furthering the opportunities for physically disabled sportspeople.

Image: Flickr

Between 1986 and 1990, Golden won ten World Championships as well as putting 19 United States Championships under her belt. Further, in 1991 the Women’s Sports Foundation, established in 1974 to advance the lives of women and girls through sports and physical activity, awarded Diana the Flo Hyman award. Previously to Diana, the list of winners of the Flo Hyman award includes names, such as; Martina Navratilova - who is widely considered among the greatest female tennis players of all time - and Evelyn Ashford - who won four gold medals and one silver in the Olympics competing in track and field.

One of Golden's many historical achievements includes her persuading the United States Ski Association to allow less abled skiers to compete in National Championships against able-bodies skiers. This open-competition policy became known as The Golden Rule.

Looking away from her professional career, Golden went through a tiresome and demanding medical process when she was diagnosed with cancer. Most poignantly, in 1991, Golden was re-diagnosed with cancer leading to a bilateral mastectomy (the removal of both breasts simultaneously) and the loss of her uterus.

Golden's re-diagnosis had a large toll on her mental health and she; therefore, attempted to take her own life. Not long after her suicide attempt, she inspirationally climbed Mount Rainier, then became a motivational speaker. This is a perfect illustration of the type of women that Golden was - she continued to say "no" to defeat and used her experiences to inspire others.

Sadly, Golden lost her cancer battle in 2001. She will be a name that for years to come will inspire girls and women with Breast Cancer to defy their own odds and become the person they wish to be.

Image: Twitter

If you wish to contact someone about Breast Cancer or would like to donate towards bettering the lives of those with Breast Cancer, then you can visit www.breastcancernow.org or call 0808 800 6000.

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