Vancouver-based Dragon Boat team provides community for cancer survivors and patients
VANCOUVER — There was a time when breast cancer patients couldn’t exercise or be active because it was feared they would worsen their illness. Those days are done.
Now, they paddle.
Vancouver-based dragon boat racing team Catch-22 unites community and breast cancer survivors and patients. They invite anyone to join their team and learn about the exciting team sport that is a family to so many.
“In dragon boating, one of the things that I found out your physical fitness and having breast cancer, they don’t interfere with your being able to dragon-boat but the other thing that doesn’t interfere is age,” said breast cancer survivor and team member, Paula Zellers, 78. “There is no discrimination against age in this in this sport, and I think that’s a pretty wonderful thing.”
Currently, the team has 11 people who have survived or are battling breast cancer. The team is co-ed, with men and women both presently on the team. They practice every week at Vancouver Lake; using the same boat house as the Portland Pilots’ rowing team.
“We’re trying to provide an avenue for them to come out, get exercise, have a community of other survivors around them, that they can use for support,” said Laura Thornquist, the team leader. “We’re not going to be a pink team, but we’re going to be a team that is here for you if you need us.”
Last weekend, the team held their first breast cancer event, with oncologist Dr. Magdolna Solti of Compass Oncology in Vancouver. Solti gave an in-depth overview to team members of how anyone can better prevent breast cancer as well as how to live fully healthy.
Much of her presentation centered around the “new american plate,” which is an effort to convert burgers and fries to fish and rice since obesity and poor diet can increase cancer risk.
The team has more information of practice times and future events as well as actual races on their Facebook page and through MeetUp.com. If you would like to join the team, send an email to Laura at firstname.lastname@example.org.