Updated: Nov 10, 2019
We, at survivingbreastcancer.org, continuously seek ways to provide health and wellness activities for those diagnosed with breast cancer and today we turn to an organization providing so much camaraderie and wellbeing to the breast cancer community, the Wellness Warriors.
The Wellness Warriors support those who have been diagnosed with any type of cancer, though approximately 50% of their members are those who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.
We were most fortunate to share exhibit space with the Wellness Warriors of Boston at the 2018 CelebrASIANS Benefit Fashion Show (benefiting the Boston Asian Breast Cancer Community) in Boston and then they graciously hosted an exhibit table at our Greater Boston Breast Cancer Awareness Event. Needless to say we were inspired by their mission, contribution to the Breast Cancer Community, their sense of adventure, fun and accomplishment.
Before we jump into what their organization is all about, I want to provide some brief background. For anyone who has had their lymph nodes removed, developing lymphedema is a real concern (See our blog on Lymphedema). A shocking statistic reads that 30% of those who have had their lymph nodes removed will develop lymphedema during their lifetime.
While it has been argued that repetitive motion could be a cause of developing this non reversible side effect, a group of researches set out to do a study and investigate if an activity such as dragon boat racing would help those diagnosed with breast cancer, get moving, exercise, and use their upper bodies to build strength and increase mobility.
In a case study out of the University of British Columbia, the findings were one of the first to "provide quantitative evidence suggesting that dragon boat racing and other vigorous upper-body exercise are actually safe activities" (Harris, S.R., et al. J Surg Oncol. 2000 Jun; 74(2):95-8).
Without further adieu we have raided their website (with their permissions of course) to present their Mission, and the reason you may wish to reach out to them to join their community. We are all in this together as we seek to improve the lives of those diagnosed with breast cancer, as well as their caregivers and support team. We are also looking to do a podcast with this terrific group soon.
What Follows are excepts from the Wellness Warriors Website:
Wellness Warriors of Boston
Our mission is to provide new opportunities for cancer survivors to heal – both physically and emotionally – by being active participants in their own recovery and part of a mutually empowering dragon boat team.
In addition, we are working to raise awareness within the metropolitan Boston survivor and medical professional community of the benefits of paddling for cancer recovery, wellness, and a healthy lifestyle. We accomplish this through education, outreach, and by being an inspirational presence of strong and confident cancer survivors.
“Dragon boating has helped me make friends with my body again after the punishing effects of cancer treatment.
The Wellness Warriors have helped me figure out who I am post treatment.”
Who We Are
Some of us are receiving chemotherapy, radiation and other cancer-fighting strategies, while others have completed treatments, but are still working through the cancer experience. For others still, cancer is a distant memory. We are a diverse group committed to dragon boating as part of our self-care after cancer diagnosis.
Why We Paddle
On or off the boat we are united as a team. We support and encourage each other. Not only is dragon boat paddling good for our health, it’s a lot of fun.
We are excited each week to join our friends on this paddling journey being coached by our intrepid leader, Coach Peter. He teaches that by working together, nothing is impossible. When we’re tired, we can keep going. We all work together to tap our inner reserves and come off the water feeling stronger.
We cherish the views from the middle of the Charles River. What a spectacular place to see the setting sun reflected on the river and buildings of the Boston skyline.
We love the warm temperatures, longer daylight hours, and the evening breezes. Even the river is warm. In the early summer, ducks and geese drift by with their babies in tow, and an occasional fish jumps high in the water.
We savor our accomplishments – learning to paddle better, harder or faster. Our experiences on dragon boats help make us stronger.
We appreciate the support and encouragement of other dragon boat teams. In the summer months, we have friendship races up and down the river to practice our starts and build our endurance. Nothing cheers us on more than a “Great race!” from a competing team.
We relish the exhilaration of flying across the water when we paddle in sync with each other. Coach Peter’s “You’re doing well,” is music to us all.
We treasure the sense of being alive, using our muscles and building our strength.
No matter where we are on the cancer journey or in our athletic ability, our rise to the physical challenges of dragon boat paddling makes us this team of thrivers. Each time we are on the water we are reminded that we are vital and alive, and we become aware of the rewards of teamwork and personal accomplishment.
Please join us on this adventure of wellness. Your Wellness Warriors teammates will support you in living the best life possible after cancer.
We are grateful to family and friends who give us this time and are there to support us – not just at dragon boat competitions – but every day, rain or shine.
We paddle for other cancer survivors and caregivers to pass on the HOPE that has been given to us. We want to show them there is a lot they can do, even as they work through their own cancer experience.
If you feel that this activity suits your fancy please feel free to visit their website and say we @survivingbreastcancerorg highly recommended them!
The SBC Team