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As good as gold

The road to Olympic glory is a long and hard one. But winning attitudes like Anneke Jenkins' offer inspiration to everyone.

January 2016

Down, but not out.

Anneke Jenkins is one of New Zealand’s most promising young triathletes, working towards a place in the 2016 Olympic Games. But Anneke’s journey has been long – and hard won.  Anneke started off her sports career as a swimmer. After coming 6th in the World Cup in 2009, Anneke’s life took a real knock. She was hit hard by glandular fever which then developed into chronic fatigue.

“It was really difficult. I spent days in bed and I couldn’t walk to the kitchen to make dinner, I couldn’t drive. I was just so fatigued, I had nothing,” Anneke recalls.

Despite battling her chronic fatigue for two years, Anneke never gave up on her Olympic dream. She switched to focus on triathlon in 2012.  Two years later, Asteron Life became Anneke’s sponsor and she placed first at the 2014 ITU World Aquathlon Championship in Canada.

United in strength

What really rocked Anneke’s life after coming to terms with her own illness, was that both her parents were diagnosed with cancer, with her mum losing one of her legs as a consequence. “My parents getting cancer was really scary. Seeing the people that you love and the people that are so strong and supportive breaking down is really hard,” she says.

However, resilience runs in the family. Together they have overcome these challenges and embraced all that life has given them. “To get through it you just have to stick together and find a way forward because there’s always a way forward, it’s just really hard to see sometimes,” Anneke explains. With the loss of her leg, Anneke’s mother continues to provide her inspiration - remaining physically active and still enjoying hiking and kayaking.

“Olympic gold is still a massive goal of mine. But without friends and family to share it, it’s not much of a goal.”

Celebrating Life

Anneke and her family are like many Asteron Life customers who endure hardship, and like we do with Anneke, we support our customers to help them carry on with life as normal and live with confidence. “I’m so lucky to have the support from Asteron Life and I couldn’t do it without them. My focus on achieving a balanced life really links with Asteron Life’s own values,” Anneke says.

Today, Anneke believes that the journey back to health has made her a stronger athlete and she now takes time to celebrate life a little more. “Celebrating life is about doing what you love and doing it every day to the best you can, and being optimistic. You’ve always got to see the positive side and see the future,” she says. With the support of Asteron Life and those closest to her, Anneke remains more determined than ever to succeed.