Harrogate’s Lorna Kerfoot-Brown is still standing and smiling after her time on Channel 4's The Island with Bear Grylls, her most recent challenge since overcoming breast cancer more than six years ago.
Joining 15 other contestants on an uninhabited island in the Pacific Ocean the 50-year old semi-retired lecturer had to endure conditions including extreme tropical weather and limited resources.
Returning for a fifth season the series has contestants split into two groups along income levels to see if it influences their ability to survive in the wild. Lorna joined those who have an average income of £100,000, while the other half was made up of those who earned below the national average.
Now back home and looking back Lorna has said she would encourage others to take a chance at having experiences offered through challenges like the island.
She said: “It was one of those bonkers ideas where I thought I could do something that is a challenge while at the same time enjoy being in the outdoors. Thousands of people auditioned and I really didn’t know if I would get through but nothing done nothing gained.
“I was diagnosed very early on with breast cancer about six and half years ago, something that I felt had come completely out of nowhere. It rocked my whole world, but I was a smiler and a fighter.
“Even with it being early on you just don’t know if you are going to get through, and it was a dark time for me. But here I am today, still standing and smiling,”
She added:”The island is the kind of thing I would suggest to anyone, just go for it and throw caution to the wind.
“When we are going through our nine to five jobs it can feel like we are just going through life. I think when you are in a position that is challenging it opens up your eyes, it makes you realise that life is for living, it doesn’t matter if your young or old just go for it.”
When asked what she expected and how she found the island she said: “Well I hate creepy crawlies and I am scared of the dark. The idea of being around anything like snakes just absolutely terrified me before I left.
“When you are out there you are constantly hearing things rustling around at night so it was pretty horrendous at first. But after a certain I just thought I can get through this.
He added: “It is a bit nerve wracking but I think I have done Harrogate proud and shown that it doesn’t matter if you are from a wealthy or working class background. I think I came across as a hard-worker and a peace maker, keeping an even keel when people were losing the plot.”
Whilst speaking of her battle with cancer Lorna also paid tribute to the efforts of staff at Harrogate District Hospital, pointing to the support of oncologists and the benefits of a buddy system that is available for patients going through treatment.
She said: “The support in Harrogate was absolutely fantastic, they worked tirelessly and were at the end of a phone call which is a massive support. It always felt like they were there for you.”