The Spirit Abreast Breast Cancer dragon boat team is starting up their 2016 season this month.
It’s a unique crew, comprised of participants living with cancer or having been through treatment themselves—and others paddling in memory of loved ones lost to the disease.
The team isn’t just for camaraderie though. Previously it was believed in the medical community that physical activity, especially with the upper-body was bad for breast cancer patients and survivors.
But Dr. Don McKenzie of the University of British Columbia changed thinking on this with his studies, finding instead that exercise is vital to recovery.
As for the psychological benefits, even those who aren’t up to the physical demands of paddling are encouraged to go out for a ride on a practice boat.
Being on the team and talking with other survivors has helped all of the participants understand gaps in their journeys, and can nurture positive thinking and a vision of life after breast cancer.
This month’s practices are on April 16, 23 and 30 (Saturdays) at 8 a.m. at Cultus Lake at the end of Lakeshore Drive.
May to September Spirit Abreast practices are Monday and Thursday evenings.
Dates and times will be posted on the team’s new website, www.spiritabreast.org.