Racing against cancer, Lisa inspires hope in rally tracks

Lisa Christoffersen navigated by Lillian Onduko during the inaugural Lioness Rally at Kasarani Sports grounds, Nairobi. March 27th,2022 [Elvis Ogina,Standard]

As the World Rally Championship (WRC) draws near, the air in Naivasha crackles with anticipation, promising an electrifying blend of speed, skill, and adrenaline-fueled excitement.

This year's edition, a significant milestone, marks the return of the WRC's third round to its traditional Easter holiday weekend slot after a 26-year hiatus.

From March 28-31, the rally will begin in Nairobi, igniting the rugged landscapes of Naivasha with the roar of engines and the thrill of competition.

Amidst the cohort of intrepid drivers ready to tackle the treacherous terrain, lies Lisa Christoffersen, a beacon of resilience and determination.

A cancer survivor and the visionary behind the Lionesses Rally Club, an all-women rally is Lisa, who embodies the spirit of perseverance.

Beyond her pursuit of passion, she champions a noble cause, to raise vital funds for children battling cancer at the Kenyatta Hospital.

"As the WRC draws near, I am mentally and physically prepared; I've always said I was born ready. My car is being prepared as we speak," Lisa asserts, her voice echoing with confidence."

Lisa's journey traces back to her roots at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, where she was raised amidst the world of rallying.

"I was born into the safari rally world," she reflects, her memories intertwined with the adventures of her father, Eric Christoffersen, a renowned rally driver.

"My father's passion for motorsports ignited the flame of enthusiasm within me." She says.

In October 2006, life dealt a devastating blow to Lisa. What started as a normal day quickly spiraled into a nightmare when she unexpectedly fell ill.

Despite her intuition screaming that something was terribly wrong, her concerns were dismissed as mere paranoia by her local gynecologist.

But Lisa knew deep down that it was more than just her imagination running wild.

At just 49 kilograms and with skin paler than her shirt, Lisa's body was betraying her, signaling that something sinister was at play.

Determined to get to the bottom of her mysterious illness, she sought the expertise of a renowned gynecologist in Johannesburg, despite being kept on the waiting list for six months.

"I knew I didn't have that kind of time," Lisa recalls. "Every moment felt like a battle against time itself."

Rally Driver Lisa Christoffersen when she visited Nakuru Deputy Governor David Kones at his office in Nakuru on February 22,2024.[Kipsang Joseph,Standard]

Within hours of her arrival, Lisa underwent a grueling 10-hour series of tests, including Positron Emission Tomography (PET), a type of imaging test that uses a radioactive drug to show how organs and tissues function.

She also underwent CT scans that left her physically and emotionally drained.

By then, even the simplest tasks, like walking a short distance, would trigger violent fits of coughing, leaving her gasping for breath.

The following day, the dreaded phone call shattered whatever semblance of hope Lisa had left.

It was on a Tuesday, and the doctor's words were like a dagger to her heart... she had stage four cancer.

Tumors had ravaged her uterus, and her lungs were engulfed in a single monstrous mass, robbing her of the very air she breathed.

"I felt like my world had come crashing down," Lisa says, her voice trembling with emotion.

"But deep down, I refused to give up without a fight." She recalls.

Urgently referred to a renowned female oncologist, Lisa was deemed too weak for surgery to remove the lung tumor.

"I clung to every shred of hope," Lisa recalls. "I knew that if I gave up, it would be game over." She adds.

What was supposed to be her final days stretched into weeks, then months, as she endured grueling chemotherapy sessions in a foreign land, far from the comforts of home.

"The journey was tough, but I refused to let cancer dictate my fate," Lisa says, her eyes sparkling with determination.

Today, as Lisa reflects on her journey, she does so with a sense of gratitude and resilience.

Through the darkest of times, she found the strength to persevere, emerging as a beacon of hope and inspiration for others facing their own battles.

"I may have been knocked down, but I refused to stay down. I've learned that no matter how tough life gets, there's always a glimmer of hope waiting to be found." Lisa says, her

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