Paddling for Health and Support
Dragonboat team members get set for a practice on West Lake – photos 250News
Prince George, B.C. – Twenty paddlers, one drummer and one stern operator. It’s a special team that not just anyone can join.They are the members of the Northbreast Passage Dragon Boat team in Prince George, with the exception of the stern operator, they are breast cancer survivors.
“The pre-requisite to be on our team is a tough one, we have to have had breast cancer. It’s a qualification that comes with a high price ” says Enid Bond, Vice President of the Northbreast Passage Dragon Boat Team.
Ranging in age from 31 to 77 , these women are, literally, all in the same boat.
It was 20 years ago that a Canadian Sports medicine specialist at UBC started a dragon boat team of breast cancer survivors. He believed the team work, and the upper body work out would not only provide these women with emotional support, but health benefits as well. He was right. Women who have had breast cancer and become physically active, have better outcomes.
Throughout the summer, the team can be seen practicing at West Lake, and they try to attend at least one Dragon Boat Festival a year. Those events bring breast cancer survivors together from numerous regions to compete and share common experiences. “We’ve won some medals” says Enid Bond, ” One year we won the Island Cup in the Breast Cancer heats”
But it’s not all about competition says Bond “It’s about all crossing the finish line in the same boat, supporting one another, knowing that we are accomplishing something together.”
When they aren’t practicing, they are raising funds and awareness, taking part in a number of events including the Relay for Life and the Run for the Cure, in addition to raising funds for their team.
It takes about $12,000 a year to cover costs for the Dragon Boat team, for things like storage rentals, insurance, equipment replacement and festival registration. The members of this team could use some support. They are looking for sponsors who can help ease the financial pressure. ( full information is available by clicking here)