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October 27, 2017 10:15 pm

Paddling for Health and Support

Monday, June 27, 2016 @ 5:59 AM


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)



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