Paralympic great Bethany Firth has revealed how mum Lindsey's brave battle against cancer has been an inspiration ahead of next year's Games in Tokyo.
Speaking in her role as ambassador for Lidl's Sport For Good initiative, the swimming sensation talked about the challenge of the Paralympics being delayed until 2021 due to Covid, a novel way of training at the start of lockdown and her hunger to shine in Japan having visited the Far East in January.
The world champion and multi-Paralympic gold medallist also opened up about her admiration for "wonderful mum" Lindsey, who a year ago was given the all clear after coming through treatment for thyroid cancer.
"My mum was diagnosed with cancer and she has come through that and recovered from it, and she has been cancer free for maybe a year now," said a proud Bethany.
"Seeing her and what she has come through has encouraged me so much to keep going with things.
"My wonderful mum is an inspiration to me and all our family. She has fought it and had a lot of treatment and has done so, so well."
At the Rio Paralympics in 2016, when Bethany took the world by storm, creating wave after wave with a series of stunning performances which saw her claim three golds and one silver, her loving family cheered her on from poolside as she became Team GB's most decorated athlete at the Games.
Whether or not they will be able to travel to Tokyo in 2021 with the Paralympics due to start next August remains to be seen.
Firth (24) said: "I would love my family to be out there. I remember each time before I swam in Rio they would tell me where they were seated, and I would look across to see them and it was like that piece of comfort because you are so far away from home.
"When you see them it is such a great support. My family are so good.
"At the moment we don't know if any spectators will be at the events. Right now we are just hoping the Games go ahead. If they take place without spectators it will be hard but at least we will be able to compete.
"I was out in Japan in January and I got to see what it would be like over there.
"That has made me even more hungry to be there in 2021. The facilities weren't completely built but we saw where the village would be and it was all really exciting.
"Japan is an amazing country with an amazing culture and I want to be there and represent my country and do everyone proud."
Having won a gold for Ireland at London 2012 and three more for GB in 2016, standing on the top step in Tokyo would further cement Firth's legendary status in Northern Ireland sport.
Honest as she is humble and a joy to interview, Bethany admits having to wait an extra year to go for gold again has brought its challenges.
"When I heard earlier this year that the Paralympics had been called off it was hard because you are working towards it for four years.
"We do other competitions in between, though they are never as big as the Paralympics," said Firth.
"To be told they were postponed was really challenging, but you have to look at it as a positive and it has given me an extra year to prepare and train.
"Training was probably the hardest thing.
"Obviously the pools closed at the start of lockdown so it meant I had to basically go out into a paddling pool in my back garden and I was on a bungee chord to get a feel of the water.
"Sport NI and SINI (Sports Institute Northern Ireland) made up a good programme of daily things to do, so I was on the bike and running. I'm definitely more of a pool girl. I can't run to save my life," she added with a smile.
"It was near the end of the first lockdown we were allowed to train and I had to travel to Dublin three times a week.
"I'm now training at Ards because thankfully elite athletes have been allowed to train here, which is a big positive.
"I'm just coming back from a shoulder injury.
"I had to go and get it injected, so I was out of the water for a bit a few weeks ago. I am back now and we are building up the pool work.
"We have also looked at other areas of sport science to try and make me improve, such as tracking my sleep and making sure I am always recovered between sessions.
"We have to qualify in April, which is when the British trials will be held.
"That's the main event we are focusing on at the moment.
"In the Paralympics this time they have the relay in my class with boys and girls, so that is an extra event.
"In total I could have six events, but I don't think I will do them all.
"I will definitely do four but I'm not sure if I will do the other two, and they might not be the same ones I did in Rio.
"I have such a love for swimming and I'm excited for the Games, and hopefully I can regain some of my titles and do better than ever."
Delighted to be involved in Lidl's Sport for Good programme and a strong advocate of the importance of getting kids involved in sport in schools, Bethany said: "What Lidl are doing is fantastic. They are giving 40 secondary schools £3,000 worth of sports equipment.
"It is an amazing idea to get people into sport and there are so many physical and mental benefits that will come from it.
"This is a project that benefits the community.
"Sport can make such a positive impact on people's lives, and after the year we have had with lockdown and people being apart, sport can bring people together, and I'm proud to be part of this campaign."
WIN £3,000 LIDL VOUCHERS
Lidl Community Works is giving 40 secondary schools across Northern Ireland a chance to win £3,000 worth of vouchers to invest in essential sports equipment (one school for each one of their stores in Northern Ireland). This represents a total investment of £120,000 by the retailer.
To enter, visit your local Lidl store and use the 10 digit code on your receipt to nominate the school of your choice at lidl-ni.co.uk/lidl-community-works
Entries are open until December 18.
The programme is designed to encourage young people to make the most of physical and mental benefits of sport participation, which provides young people with a boost to social skills, self-esteem and body confidence as well as a lifelong support network of mentors and friends.