I had actually looked into dragonboating after my diagnosis back in 2013 but didn’t think I wanted to participate in any type of support group type activities at that time. Fast forward 6 years later as I was crossing the Race for the Cure 5K finish line, and a Hearts of Steel team member handed me a flier about the team. About a month later I was paddling in the dragonboat and I was hooked! Not only is it fun, and is a complete body workout, but this group of women are a great support and so much fun to be around! I highly recommend giving dragon boating a try, it has been such a positive experience for so many survivors/thrivers! I also recommend this team as an oncology nurse and a survivor, activity and support are so important for survivorship.
“Hearts of Steel (HOS) is the positive of a breast cancer diagnosis. Diagnosed with DCIS one month after my 42nd birthday, I was trying to find my new normal. I was struggling to find a survivor group that fit me. I was active prior to my diagnosis but after radiation treatment I was tired and felt weak. I wasn’t sure if I would ever feel as good as prior to treatment. Then…I met the ladies of HOS who introduced me to Dragon Boating! HOS changed my life and helped me heal physically, emotionally, and mentally. I found a new confidence that had me smiling. I am stronger now than I was prior to treatment and I attribute a lot of that to Dragon Boating! HOS lifted me up and gave me the confidence I needed to move forward. The ladies of HOS took me in and accepted me with open arms from our first meeting and stood by me when I made the difficult yet exciting decision to move out of state. My time with HOS will always be with me in my heart even though I am hundreds of miles away. In fact, I took these ladies into my MRI screening last month by thinking about HOS and paddling in the boat. I was paddling with HOS on a sunny warm Saturday morning practice all throughout the scan (which came back normal ?). HOS helped me to move forward in all aspects of my life. Just try it, you won’t regret it! I got the seat warm for you.”
“Before cancer, I was an active and positive person. After cancer I wanted to remain both of those things. I was so pleased to find out, when I joined a breast cancer survivor dragon boat team, that there were other survivors who wanted to live an active lifestyle after cancer. While commiseration is always allowed (and periodically necessary), the best part for most of us is that we have a sport and a goal in common that really has nothing to do with having cancer. Dragon boating and my friends have changed my life. I can’t imagine what I would be like and what I would be doing now without my team and my teammates.”
“This team has been a game changer for me! I was truly struggling with post treatment life. My body had changed so much and I felt so limited to what I could do. Then I joined the team for a paddle and I found me again! This is my happy place!”