We are Minneapolis/St. Paul's first dragon boat racing team for breast cancer survivors, providing education, outreach and support
The mission of the Dragon Divas is to demonstrate that a full and active life is possible following the diagnosis of breast cancer. The organization provides an opportunity for members to connect with other breast cancer survivors in a supportive environment to enhance their physical, emotional, and spiritual health.
The Dragon Divas are dedicated to promoting the early detection of breast cancer and raising awareness in the community of the importance of physical fitness in fighting this disease. Through our message and action, the Dragon Divas honor the memory of those who have died from the disease and the blessings they have bestowed on our survivorship.
Our Team :
The Dragon Divas are an eclectic group of breast cancer survivors and supporters, ranging in age between mid-30s to late 60s. There are no requirements for being part of the team other than survivorship or an interest in encouraging the spirit of survivors and desire to enjoy the camaraderie of other women while improving physical health. When not paddling, team members are mothers, daughters, grandmothers and sisters; homemakers, scientists, educators, health care providers, businesswomen and retired professionals. We are women supporting women; women involved in our communities and churches; women who gain strength from one another, as individuals and as a team. Our diversity sends out a clear message to women in the Minnesota Twin Cities of hope and optimism emphasizing that anything and everything is possible through a united effort.
Mary Skrypek, a breast cancer survivor and physical therapist with Healtheast Ò Optimum Rehabilitation, learned about Abreast in a Boat, a Vancouver-area dragon boat team for breast cancer survivors and decided to assess interest in the survivor community in the Twin Cities. She enlisted the support of Dr. Sandra Rosenberg, a breast cancer survivor herself and specialist in vascular disease and lymphedema. The two decided Mary should spread the word about the Vancouver team to the breast cancer community and assess interest in forming the first team in the Twin Cities.
Our message is a message of hope, wholeness and healing for women and men with a diagnosis of breast cancer. The vessel we paddle symbolizes our journey to health. We demonstrate how dragon boating enhances healing by:
· Regaining control of our lives following a diagnosis of breast cancer
· Showing family, friends and strangers we are living a full and complete life
· Reminding us to make the most of each moment
· Creating a new state of wellness and well-being
· Demanding the best of each team member, both physically and mentally
· Challenging our limits, rather than limiting our challenges
· Overcoming the loneliness that often accompanies the journey through cancer and recovery
· Creating a safety net in the event of recurrence
· Giving us pride in our accomplishments
· Demonstrating we can undertake strenuous exercise with no ill effects. In fact, in the two years team members have practiced, exercised and competed, no new cases of lymphedema have developed and none have worsened.
· Creating balance in our lives
· Encouraging us to share our experiences with others
Continued participation in festivals creates additional publicity and supports the Dragon Divas’ effort to promote awareness and early detection of breast cancer as well as the importance of active lifestyles for patients and survivors. We seek donations for our educational efforts, equipment and festival fees, as well as scholarships for team members who are unable to take on the expense of travel to festivals.
In addition to our dragon boating activities, members establish mentor/befriender relationships with other women and men diagnosed with breast cancer as they journey through their prescribed treatment. For more information, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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