Northern Ireland’s only dragon boat team for breast cancer survivors gives participants a fun and supportive way to feel physical and emotionally stronger after treatment
Once treatment for cancer is finished, there is still a lot of healing to be done by survivors.
Thanks to Lagan Dragons, women with have overcome breast cancer, along with their family members and medical professionals, have a way to improve their wellbeing.
Club captain and cancer survivor Joanne Rock founded the dragon boat team in 2015 with the help of National Lottery funding because she wanted to help others in the same boat – quite literally.
The weekly paddling sessions on Belfast’s Lagan River are open to anyone affected directly or indirectly by breast cancer.
The club now has in excess of 60 members, aged from their thirties to their seventies.
The sessions give participants a safe and fun environment in which to improve their health and fitness, as well as support their emotional well-being and give them an activity to look forward to after the frequent hospital appointments are no longer needed.
“It is great for those taking part to realise they are not on their own and not the only ones who have experienced breast cancer. “Whenever we are together, the emphasis is taken off the cancer and is put on having a laugh and getting fitter.
Jo-Ann Myles, a member of Lagan Dragons
Using the 2,000-year-old Chinese sport as a form of upper-body therapy for breast cancer survivors was first trialled in Canada in 1996 and has since grown into a global movement.
Last year, the team competed at the 2018 IBCPC Participatory Dragon Boat Festival in Florence for the first time and also became the fastest BCS dragon boat team in the UK and Ireland, after winning gold at the 2018 Dublin Hong Kong Dragon Boat Regatta.
To find out more about Lagan Dragon visit their website https://www.lagandragons.com/