‘Paddling has changed our lives. Breast cancer survivors, you’ve finally finished treatment but what now? Come join The Geelong Dragons ABreast Team, The Juggernauts, and belong to a dragon boat team of breast cancer survivors and their supporters.’ I had the pleasure of meeting Fran Forsyth, who was paddling with the Juggernauts at Geelong’s Wooden Boat Festival.
‘Our group was formed in 2003 and I was 60 when I started ….. I’m now 75 & still paddling! Geelong’s Zonta Club sponsored this beautiful wooden boat which was blessed by Buddhist monks hence we wear their Sanskrit Mantra ‘Om Mani Padme Hum’ on our team shirts. Paddling is a great way to raise awareness of breast cancer plus we have fun and compete in many regattas.’
The ‘Abreast in a Boat ‘movement started in Canada in 1996 when Dr Don McKenzie challenged the then held belief that it was necessary to avoid upper body exercise. He proved to the contrary, that the exercise of dragon boat paddling plays an important role in recovery from breast cancer surgery & lymphedema plus the support and camaraderie of belonging to a team of survivors reduced isolation and improved mental wellbeing.
There are Dragons Abreast groups throughout Australia. https://dragonsabreast.com.au
‘You don’t have to be fit or know how to paddle, you can be any age. If you’re a survivor & think fun, fitness & friendship is for you, then look us up https://dragonsabreast.com.au/groups/placedetails/31 or friend our Facebook: Dragons Abreast Geelong-Juggernauts or come say hello any Saturday @ 12.30pm @ The Canoe Club in Balliang Sanctuary. Newtown.
Story and Photo: Jacqui Bennett