All women's dragon boat racing teams
What is dragon boat racing?
Dragon boating is an ancient Chinese ritual in which paddlers race competitively in a synchronized rhythm. The racing historically symbolized the paddlers struggle with nature and the fight against their mortal enemies. With their 'dragon at the helm', paddlers would gain strength, vitality and avert misfortune.
How does this relate to women battling or surviving breast cancer?
In 1996, Dr. Donald McKenzie, a Canadian sports medicine specialist at the University of British Columbia, started a dragon boat team for women with a history of breast cancer. The women formed the team Abreast in a Boast and tested his belief that this activity would benefit breast cancer survivors providing upper body activity in a challenging and supportive team environment.
Breast cancer survivor teams have caught on around the world. This network of international teams travel to compete in international festivals as well as local and national competitions throughout the year.
Pink Lightning Dragon Boat Team is a New Jersey Breast Cancer Survivors Dragon Boat Team. We originally began in 2008 as Pathways Team SOS NJ a program of The Connection in Summit NJ. Reorganized in 2020 as Pink Lightning, the team was incorporated as a 501c3 non-profit organization in March 2021.
Studies have shown tremendous benefits to women with breast and other cancers:
Physically - we experience increased aerobic capacity, upper and lower body strength, endurance and energy. Paddling can also be helpful to women with lymphedema.
Socially - we expand our social network and develop enduring friendships with others who share in our experiences as 'a floating support group'.
Emotionally - we feel an increased sense of spiritual well being and empowerment, especially when we are competing in races.
For those of a more competitive nature, we have Jersey Thunder, an all women racing boat. As a member of the team, you may practice and/or race with either boat or both as you see fit.