Pink Phoenix Dragon Boat Team is comprised entirely of breast cancer survivors

Pink Phoenix Dragon Boat Team is comprised entirely of breast cancer survivors


Pink Phoenix was actually the first all
breast cancer dragon boat team to form in the United States. The team was to empower breast cancer survivors through the sport of dragon boating. We’ve been paddling since 1997. We have 90 active paddlers and we have a 116 total members. We take three boats out — that’s 66 women, 22 per boat. It’s not individual effort. It’s your
individual effort along with your teammates to move the boat forward. You’re following the woman directly in front of you, so whenever her blade goes
in the water, your blade goes in the water. It gives you such an
empowering feeling, even though I’ve gone through something horrible, and it really
did break my body down, I’m able to build it back up. I’m able to build my strength back up. My first practice one of the women came up to me and said ‘Well, I’ve
been paddling eight years,’ and right away my mind went to, ‘Well, she’s at least an
eight year survivor.’ I’ve been a member of Pink Phoenix for 17 years. I signed up and, a friend who also in the neighborhood had breast cancer, we signed up together. The joy, the camaraderie, the challenge. Breast cancer really can take you down and Pink Phoenix, it gives a lot. It was in 1998 and I noticed a little lump. I had just had my daughter she was one at the time. 17th mammogram. It was a very aggressive treatment. They came back and didn’t say, ‘Okay we’ll see you next year,” and I knew then. When you find something
like Pink Phoenix, all of a sudden everything that seems to be sort of
floating out there and unable to be tethered to the ground,
Pink Phoenix tethers us together. This was probably something I didn’t think I needed, but I really did need it. Paddling gives us strength, it gives us
confidence, it gives us so much. In my mind, if I can push my body to its physical
capacity, it reassures me I’m okay.

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