In 2010, at the age of 34, I was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of Breast Cancer. I endured treatment that consisted of chemotherapy, radiation and two mastectomies followed by complete reconstruction. After all of this I was pronounced “cancer free” on October 1, 2010!
While I was going through treatment I would see pictures in my doctor’s offices of a group of breast cancer survivors who had formed a dragon boat racing team called “Rowbust”. Once I was through treatment and all clear, I knew that a lifestyle change was in order and I thought that maybe Rowbust could be the key to that change. I was right! Not long after I met this amazing group of women I was hooked on the sport of dragon boat racing!
Since joining Rowbust I have become more fit than I have been since I was a teenager and I have enjoyed the new found friendships and support that I would have never known if I had not joined the team…not to mention the reemergence of my love of competitive sports!
In the last three years that I have been a part of this amazing team my teammates and I have earned many gold medals in competition, TWO of which are Canadian National Championship Gold medals earned in 2012 (Montreal, QC) and 2013 (Victoria, BC). In actual fact, Rowbust as a team is FOUR TIME National Champions and were pioneers in getting a Breast Cancer Survivor (BCS) division at the National level! I have been very fortunate to be with them for these last two years in National competition.
In August of 2013 I travelled with Rowbust to Victoria, BC to compete in the BCS Division of the Canadian National Championships. We won Gold! With this win we were also awarded a spot to compete in the BCS division at the Club Crew WORLD Championships that will take place in September 2014, in Ravenna Italy! This will be the first time that Canada will send a BCS team to compete at the Club Crew World Championships in the BCS division and it is my goal to be there with my team!
History of BCS Dragon Boating
In 1995, Dr. Don McKenzie, sports medicine physician and exercise physiologist, was researching the issue of rehabilitation following diagnosis and treatment of Breast Cancer. He realized that widespread restrictions on exercise in relation to Breast Cancer amounted to little more than a myth and concluded that, since everyone's health depends to some extent on regular activity, Breast Cancer survivors are no different.
Not only does regular exercise make us feel better, it also stimulates the endorphins to lift our spirits and improve our mental outlook. Dr. McKenzie determined that the sport of dragon boating would be ideal for women or men recovering from Breast Cancer.
Dragon boating for Breast Cancer Survivors celebrated its 15th anniversary in 2010. The sport has grown from one team in 1995 to over 150 worldwide in 2010.
In the spring of 2000, Dr. Annette Richard appeared in a newspaper article discussing the benefits of exercise and Breast Cancer survival. She encouraged Breast Cancer survivors to attend an information session and from that, Rowbust Dragon Boat Racing Team was born!
With incredible spirit, teamwork and perseverance, Rowbust is poised for success in each Dragon Boat Festival in which it participates while ever promoting increased awareness of Breast Cancer and celebrating the greatest gift on earth…. Life! Each survivor has faced their own "dragon" and has come away from the battle a much stronger and more enlightened person. This is not to say the journey is an easy one. The journeys may vary, but the outcome is the same, we take each moment and live it.
ABOUT THIS ADVENTURE
On August 27, 2014 Rowbust will travel to London, England to make the “London to London” connection! While London, England is no stranger to the sport of dragon boat racing they have yet to form their own BCS team. Enter Rowbust! It is with the direction and help of one of our very own coaches (a very sought after stern) who hails from the area, that we are able to make this connection! We will be there to work with the BCS paddlers of London, England to help them form their own team.
After a few training & tweaking days in London, England we will continue on to Ravenna, Italy to compete in the Club Crew World Championships from September 3 – 7, 2014.
As you can imagine a trip of this magnitude is a costly one. As of yet, Rowbust does not have a major sponsor who can cover each members travel expenses. A small portion of our travel expenses will be covered from our fund raising efforts but it is up to each individual member to pay the remainder of their way to Italy. Therefore, I am asking for you to ”HELP Suzanne Paddle in Italy!”
Travel Expenses: (estimate)
- Flight to England $1,500.00
- Flight from England to Italy $150.00
- Hotel in England $500.00
- Hotel in Italy $1,500.00
- Meals & Transportation $1,500.00
THANK YOU for taking the time to read and consider my donation request! Every penny counts!
NOTE: If in the event I am unable to compete in Italy due to unforeseen circumstances your money will be returned to you in full.
I look forward to the opportunity of representing Canada at the Club Crew World Championships and with your help I can make this dream a reality!
To read the full story of my cancer journey go to http://suzannenewington.blogspot.ca/