Cameron Howe, The Mordialloc Chronicle
October 31, 2017
Reclaiming their health and finding strength in one another, breast cancer survivors will soon be beating the dragon in numbers at Patterson River, with each stroke of the paddle.
Pink Lotus, a group belonging to Dragons Abreast Australia, will soon take to Patterson River in their twelve metre dragon boat, which they will be renting from their Ballarat counterpart.
Breast Cancer Australia recognises that many of their members enjoy dragon boating not just for the beneficial exercise, but for the opportunity to meet other breast cancer survivors and share their stories.
Dragons Abreast Australia is a part of an international movement, that provides a positive physical outlet for breast cancer survivors, and according to researcher Dr Don Mckenzie helps to reduce lymphedema.
Lymphedema is a collection of fluid in the arms and legs resulting in chronic swelling. According to Breast Cancer Australia, “gentle, regular exercise greatly assists in the treatment of lymphedema. Muscle movement in the chest and arm area increases lymph flow and reduces the risk of fluid accumulating.”
For the small but growing group, the name Pink Lotus is a symbol of the beauty that arises from the lotus that is often rooted in muddy water. “As breast cancer survivors, we can directly relate to coming from a dark terrible place,” said Vice President Linda Papworth. “We are flowers that live on the water,” she said.
Pink Lotus offer a supportive environment, inclusive of all capabilities, and intend to train each Sunday at Patterson River. The dragon boat festival in Florence next year is a big focus for the group, which members will attend along with over one hundred teams from around the world.
For those touched by the ‘breast cancer dragon’, the experience of hitting the water is therapeutic and empowering. “There is strength in knowing that you are not alone and that others completely understand what it is you are going through,” said Ms Papworth.
“Once we are out on the water, you can forget about your troubles of the week, and just paddle. It’s quite meditative listening to the drum.”
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