King’s patient Kiko Matthews smashes world record to become the fastest female to solo row the Atlantic Ocean

26.03.18   Categories: Patient stories, Supporter stories, Challenge

Kiko Matthews has set a new world record for rowing solo and unaided across the Atlantic Ocean, completing the 3,000nm journey in just 49 days – almost a week quicker than the previous world record.

In 2009, Kiko nearly died of a brain tumour and underwent lifesaving neurosurgery at King’s College Hospital in London. The tumour resulted in Cushing’s disease, a syndrome that causes excessive amounts of the hormone cortisol to be released by the adrenal glands. This rare condition can cause memory loss, psychosis, diabetes, osteoporosis, insomnia and muscle wastage, as well as further tumours.

Eight years ago, Kiko could barely walk up the stairs. Less than a year ago, while training for her Atlantic row, Kiko had a recurrence and had to have further surgery to remove a second tumour.

Following the treatment she received at King’s, Kiko wanted to give something back and set herself a phenomenal challenge – to row the Atlantic Ocean solo and unsupported, and raise £100,000 for the new Critical Care Centre that is currently being built at King’s Denmark Hill campus.

A year ago, Kiko had never rowed before. This incredible achievement was accomplished in aid of King’s College Hospital Charity’s Support Life Appeal, which aims to raise £2.5 million to fund life changing enhancements to the new Critical Care Centre. Charitable support will provide the world’s first outdoor critical care facility, improve the internal environment for patients, staff and their families, and support research in the new centre.

Kiko says: “The thought that eight months ago I was lying in hospital having my brain operated on and now I am here having rowed the Atlantic, I guess I am a bit proud. I have shown that anyone can attempt anything given the right attitude, belief, and support.”

Dr Thomas Best, Critical Care Consultant at King’s, thanks Kiko for all her hard work.


“Congratulations, you’ve broken the world record! Everyone here at King’s and King’s College Hospital Charity are so proud to be associated with someone so extraordinary as you raising money for us. You are an inspiration to all of us. The money you’ve raised will have such an impact on thousands of patients. Thank you so much.”
Dr Thomas Best

Kiko has already raised over £82,000. Read about her incredible journey on her website and sponsor her online at

King's Critical Care team holding a congratulations sign
King’s Critical Care team congratulating Kiko on her world record



King’s College Hospital Charity. Registered Charity No. 1165593. Company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales No. 09987908. Registered address: King’s College Hospital, London SE5 9RS