Stories from Dragon Boat Charleston Cancer Survivors 

*Water is an integral part of the Lowcountry. Getting outside to exercise is important for physical health and mental well-being. A person who has had surgery, been stuck in the infusion room or under a radiation machine (cut, poisoned and burned) doesn’t feel like doing anything. It sucks the strength from a person. You feel that you will never feel human again. You feel ruined. Dragon boating is an opportunity to get outdoors and become one with your body again. You start to feel like maybe you can overcome the cancer toll. You note your surroundings and realize what a great lifestyle the lowcountry has. The exercise helps build your stamina and brightens your outlook on the future. - Lois

*The toll cancer treatment takes on its victims can be physically exhausting and emotionally draining. DBC gives cancer victims/survivors the opportunity to regain strength physically by the actual act of paddling and the opportunity to heal emotionally as you are surrounded by other cancer survivors on the team who are able to share their trials and tribulations and to help with issues a cancer survivor may face. –Lauren

*As part of DBC I am surrounded by other breast cancer survivors and see that indeed they not only survive, but thrive. I have seen and personally experienced what the encouragement and exercise of this project can do. There is a difference between this and the hope given to us by loved ones and doctors. The difference is hoping you will survive and learning deep, deep down that you can. –Chris

*DBC is important because it is the only place I know where cancer survivors can join together to help and encourage each other to “keep keeping on”, physically and every other way. Cancer does not have to be the end of the road…In fact, for many of us, it is a new beginning and DBC gives us the structure to put this, “I Can Do” attitude in place in a nurturing and supportive environment. –Judith

*Having cancer revealed my physical vulnerability, produced great fear, and threatened my mortality. DBC enhances my physical strength and makes me fearless. The peacefulness of the water, the drum beating in time with my heart, and the communion between paddlers who have all faced a fearful foe, makes me feel immortal. –Gene

*It’s therapy where all therapies stop. DBC is the bridge between the mental/physical pain and the “life is good” state of mind. –DBC member

*DBC provides a community that accepts everyone where they are physically, as well as emotionally, and allows them to fully participate in a true sport as a team member. Paddling provides a positive challenge for physical and emotional growth, combined with the beauty of the outdoors and just plain fun. It’s good medicine. –Belinda

*I had no idea when I started paddling with DBC that it would become an essential part of my life. What started as having fun on the water in 2003 blossomed into a network of friends and a support group that kept me sane as I underwent surgery and chemo in 2005 and again in 2007. It’s an escape from the horrors of cancer, where I am accepted whether I am strong or weak. -Lynda