“Resilience should be my middle name,” says Kadeena Cox, 27-year-old Paralympic gold medallist and Muller brand ambassador.
“I was diagnosed with a stroke in 2014 and then multiple sclerosis (MS) like four months later. Being resilient in that situation was quite hard.”
Kadeena is modest but to an outsider, she should be a poster girl for perseverance. At 15 she took up competitive sprinting and it wasn’t long before she won bronze at the U17 Manchester open in the 200m.
Up until 2014 she was on track to be a great sprinter, having broken the 12 second mark in the 100m, but then she had a stroke and was diagnosed with MS aged 23.
For many, this would be a challenging hurdle to overcome, but not Kadeena who was determined to find a way to stay in sport.
“I know it’s tough and I dealt with my situation quite well but I think that’s just because I’m a little bit crazy,” she laughs.
“I didn’t have much balance at all and before I was diagnosed I was a sports scholar and I just wanted to be back around athletes. We had a sports scholar gym and I said to my coach ‘can I come in and just do some bits?’
“I tried a few weightlifting bits and I was so wobbly I just sat back down so I ended up sitting on a bike and one day my coach was watching and was like ‘Kadeena, you are cracking out really good powers’ then someone said I should speak to British Cycling.
“I did testing with them and they got me on the programme and I had been trying to get back into athletics because that was my first love and before I knew it I was doing both sports alongside each other and then I was just like ‘I’m not going to stop doing this, no one else has done this so I’m going to do it.’”
And so, she became a parasport athlete representing Team GB in both T38 sprint events and C4 cycling events, winning gold in both the 400m sprint and the 500m time trial at the 2016 Rio Paralympics.
Having that passion for sport is what helped get her through that difficult time, she says.
“I had a passion which was my sport and I just used that to help me get through. I think it’s always having an end goal and being able to know that even if it’s not the way you intended you can do it.
“Being flexible with your goal is my thing, that’s always helped me – having a goal but making it flexible, knowing that it can adapt. It doesn’t have to be the way I set it out to be, as long as I can still get to my goal.
“I struggled initially mentally with dealing with how slow I was in comparison to what I was before so doing cycling which I’d never done before – I had no connection to it, it was just a blank canvas – made it quite easy so it made me forget the negativity in athletics.”
When asked if she had any advice for people who may find themselves in a similar situation to the one she was in in 2014, she started with this disclaimer: “you don’t have to do crazy things like me and become two-time Paralympic champion in two sports.
“Maybe you can get up and go back to work – just simple things that are simple for some people but for other people that’s really hard.
“It’s really hard but you have to just say ‘this is a new me’. This is Kadeena 2.0,” she explains, “You have to forget about the past and just move forward. You have to look forward.
“Yeah, you can’t do what you want to do in the way that you did it before, but you can find another way to do it. There are always adaptations, in this day and age there are always ways to adapt everything. You can do it in a different way or just find something.
“Just find something that makes you happy and just do it, something that you enjoy. It doesn’t matter whatever anyone else says, if you enjoy it, go out and do it.”
New Müller spreadable is easy to spread straight from the fridge and tastes Müllerlicious. Look out for the TV campaign featuring Müller brand ambassador Nicole Scherzinger out soon.