Richardson coaches on despite breast cancer
Nothing could stop equestrian coach Laura Richardson, not even breast cancer
Only last September, Laura Richardson was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Today, she is up and about, the episode behind her and fully focused on guiding Singapore's South-east Asia (SEA) Games dressage team (equestrian) to glory.
"Now? It's good!" said Richardson, 38, grinning widely as she spoke to The New Paper at the Singapore Turf Club Riding Centre in Kranji.
"The doctors are very confident and hopeful; they're treating me as cancer-free and hopefully with the antibody programme and other drugs, (the cancer) will not return."
She then went on to list all the treatments she had undergone since - a double mastectomy followed by six months of chemotherapy, five weeks of radiotherapy and, now, maintenance therapy.
"Now, every three weeks, I have a drip with antibodies and daily pills," said Richardson, pulling a face as she added: "Lots of pills."
Her spirit is admirable and infectious.
Despite having to deal with the physical and mental exertions of chemotherapy, Richardson continued coaching her charges in preparation for the Games.
For Catherine Oh, one of the riders who will be competing today, working with someone as focused and dedicated as Richardson has been "incredibly inspirational".
"There's only a certain amount that she can take physically, but Laura has never faltered in her support for us," said Oh, 43, who formed part of the gold medal-winning quartet at the 1995 Games in Chiang Mai.
"She's really been an inspiration to all of us in her determination to just keep going."
Richardson, who resumed riding last December, admitted it had been "incredibly hard" trying to ride and teach while undergoing chemotherapy.
The doctors had operated under her right arm, as the cancer had spread to her lymph nodes. Half her arm had gone numb as a result.
"I've had to learn to deal with that," said Richardson.
"The feeling's starting to come back now, so it's not so bad, but it'll probably always be a bit numb."
The Briton, who has lived in Singapore for 18 months with her six-year-old son, Rex, added: "I wanted to stay here because I love Singapore and I love the life and friends that we have here.
"(If I had left Singapore) I wouldn't have a job and I wouldn't have horses to ride and be around everyday if I went home, so what do I have to drag myself out of bed for?"
Richardson, who has over 30 years of riding experience under her belt, is eager to use her expertise to help the dressage riders in their quest for SEA Games gold today.
The former national equestrienne for Great Britain said: "The Singapore-based riders are all I can speak for, but I genuinely feel we've made the best preparation that we could possibly have done in the circumstances, and I hope that's enough for us to prevail and get the gold.
"But I think we can all be satisfied in terms of how our preparation has gone - we couldn't have done any more or any better."