News / USA

    Breast Cancer Survivors Embrace Dragon Boating During Treatment, Recovery

    Breast Cancer Survivors Embrace Dragon Boatingi
    X
    June 17, 2013 5:09 PM
    Dragon boating is a team sport that has its roots in ancient China more than 2,000 years ago. The boat is adorned with a dragon head and tail before races. In recent years, a growing number of breast cancer survivor groups around the world have started to use the sport to rebuild their lives, forge friendships, and more. VOA’s June Soh caught up with a team paddling on a Washington river.
    Breast Cancer Survivors Embrace Dragon Boating
    June Soh
    On a Saturday morning, a group of 20 women paddles in sync to the coach’s call on the Anacostia River in Washington. They are members of Go Pink! DC, a dragon boat racing team. 
     
    “I love the team spirit, I just love everything about it. It is like a floating support group on the water," said Lydia Collins, who joined five years ago after being diagnosed with breast cancer.

    Dragon boating is a team sport  that goes back more than 2,000 years. The boat is adorned with a dragon head and tail before races. In recent years, a growing number of breast cancer survivor groups around the world have started to use the sport to rebuild their lives and forge friendships.
     
    The paddlers in Collins' group are breast cancer survivors and their supporters.
     
    “It is sort of an easy entry sport because on the same boat people at different levels can be doing the same sport," said Annette Rothemel, a breast cancer survivor who co-founded Go Pink! DC in 2006.
     
    Rothemel, who is also a researcher with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), says it can be physically demanding, especially for someone who is still undergoing cancer treatments.  
     
    “It is hard, but I think you have to challenge yourself in life," said Ronda Hartzel, who receives chemotherapy treatment every three weeks. "This is something I look forward to.  I get to be out here with my sisters and supporters that understand what I am going through and help motivate me. So it makes me stronger and it makes me feel better." 
     
    While dragon boating originated in ancient China, its modern form of racing began in the 1970s. Since then, it has become a fast growing international competitive sport. Breast cancer survivor teams have also cropped up around the world. 
     
    “I am sure it is in the multiples of hundreds. That must be 300, 400 teams around the world," said Rothemel. 
     
    Collins points out a physical benefit from the motion of paddling.
     
    “When I am paddling, it helps with my lymphedema, which is swelling of the lymphatic fluid. When you have mastectomy, sometimes you wind up with this condition.  We have many paddlers wear compression sleeves," she said.  
     
    In addition to weekly practices, Go Pink! DC races against other breast cancer survivor teams in dragon boat festivals. A Pink Carnation Ceremony takes place at each event to honor those lost to the cancer.
     
    “Unfortunately that is a sad part of having a team of breast cancer survivors. One passed away several years ago and another one this past January.  She had been with us for a year," said Rothemel. 
     
    At a recent Washington DC Dragon Boat Festival, the team earned medals. “We earned two silver medals, one in the 250 meter and one in the 500 meter [race]," said Rothemel. 
     
    Paddling together, Rothemel says, the cancer survivors feel a sense of sisterhood and share good times - both of which they say they treasure.
     

    You May Like

    Russian-Backed Offensive in Syria Pushes War to Tipping Point

    As threat to Aleppo and rebel forces grows, US plan to negotiate becomes less and less appealing for Syrian government, says one military analyst

    IS Runs Timber Smuggling Business in Afghanistan, Officials Say

    Government turning blind eye to smuggling, according to tribal leaders; Afghanistan's forest cover dropped by 50 percent in three decades, experts say

    Video White House Seeks $1.8 Billion to Combat Zika

    Obama administration says funding would 'support essential strategies to combat the virus' such as rapidly expanding mosquito control programs, accelerating vaccine research

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
    June 17, 2013 10:24 PM
    I wish breast cancer survivors hopes and good lucks.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.