In County Cork, Ireland, a group of breast cancer survivors have found that dragonboat racing can be an ideal form of physical and mental therapy.
Dragonboats are long canoe-like boats, and each dragonboat carries 18 people — 16 paddlers, a drummer, and a helmsman or helmswoman — for an evening of fun on the waters of the River Lee.
According to one of the survivors, 44-year-old Caroline Warren, an oncology massage therapist and mother-of-two, the group usually spend a several hours on the water followed by a cup of tea.
Caroline was one of the first members of Cork Dragons, which was established in 2012 and is a member of the Irish Dragonboat Association. The association was established in 2010 and now has clubs all over the country.
Caroline joined after reading the findings of the 1998 McKinsey Report, which documented the benefits of dragon-boat paddling for people who have had a breast cancer diagnosis and mastectomy or lymph node removal. The mum-of-two also became a Dragon, she says, “because it was a fun activity out on the water and there’s great camaraderie.
There are 10 members of the Cork Dragons, who are joining fellow ‘dragons’ from clubs in Waterford, Limerick, Donegal, and Mayo on the 26-strong Wild Atlantic Warrior Dragonboat team. The mission of this team is to participate in the 2018 IBCPC Dragonboat festival in the Italian city of Florence in July 2018.