A Greenwich woman has broken a world record and raised more than £40,000 for charity by doing a 29-hour spin class.
Jackie Scully, now 40, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer at the age of 32.
She said: “I never thought that I was going to make 40.
“When I was 39 I decided I probably was going to make it but I was going to make it really count.
“I decided rather than go down the pub and have dinner with lots of my friends I would attempt to do something that’s never been done – I would try and break a Guinness World Record.”
Ms Scully brought together a group of 16 people, including a woman with long Covid, an Olympian, and a lady who is nearly 60 who has had extensive surgery on both legs, for her world record attempt.
Over the December 4 weekend, they beat the world record for the longest spin class with a 29 hour and five second session.
The £41,260 raised will be split between Mind, CoppaFeel!, Mintridge and NHS Charities Together.
She said: “It was utterly epic, in all ways I imagined it could be.
“The support, the team, the kindness and the generosity to get not only a Guinness World Record but also £40,000 raised for charity is something I will never forget.”
On Christmas Eve 2013, Ms Scully found a lump in her breast – one day before her partner of 13 years proposed.
Three weeks later she had been diagnosed with cancer and went on to have a mastectomy, and both radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
There has been no evidence of disease for seven years now – but Ms Scully still takes hormone treatment to stop the cancer coming back.
But this wasn’t the first time she had faced challenges with her health.
In her 20s, she discovered that she was born with a shallow hip – meaning her pelvis could not support her walking.
She said: “I was walking in this Tube station and my leg just gave way on the bridge. “I thought ‘What on earth is this?’”
Ms Scully had extensive surgery to rebuild her hip – including sawing the bone into three pieces.
She said: “It took me years of rehab and some seriously dark times to get through it and I know that I will always be the person with the dodgy legs, and this hip will give up eventually.
“But my surgeon said to me ‘We’re going to keep going. I didn’t rebuild you to sit on the sofa.’
“I appreciate that I’ve probably interpreted it a little too extremely but I think he would be proud of me for getting up and giving it a good go and encouraging other people to believe that when you shoot for the impossible you can find out what really is possible.”
Despite the difficulties that life has thrown at her, Ms Scully has been determined to not let it stand in her way.
She said: “I spent most of my 20s either learning to walk again or not being able to dance at my friends’ weddings and enjoy what you might call the best decade of your life.
“I went into my 30s thinking I’m going to boss my 30s because I’ve had my 20s taken away from me and to think at 32 I got a serious illness I was like ‘Oh, come on.’”
“I turned to running and exercise and movement as a way of trying to take back control of my life.”
While having chemotherapy, she ran a 10k and later she ran the
London Marathon on her wedding day, gifting the money her and her husband would have spent on the wedding to charity.
She added: “I’ve gone on to do things on paper that my body would say is not possible and I’ve done it to prove you are not the things that happen to you in life but how you chose to respond.
“I’ve been constantly impressed by how far my body has been able to go and I say that I’m in constant search for my physical edges and I’m delighted to say I haven’t found them yet – even after 29 hours on a spin bike which is pretty good going.”
Although her path has been full of ups and downs, Ms Scully doesn’t have any regrets.
She said: “You go through life thinking life is a series of big milestones – getting married, having a career, buying a house, getting a car, having children – and society dictates to you that that is the course you take.
“I am the person I am because of all the decisions that didn’t quite go according to plan and I don’t regret that.
“It’s almost like I’ve been put here for a different purpose and that’s the story I tell myself as a way of accepting my story won’t be quite like anyone else’s.
“That doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s not a great life.”
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