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.
PINK LIGHTNING is open to women breast cancer survivors and non-BCS women who support our team mission. No prior experience is necessary. We range in age from mid-twenties to mid-seventies and come from all over Northern and Central New Jersey. Some of our team members are currently going through treatment, while others are long-term survivors.
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... '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 (formerly Jersey Girls), 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.
for additional cancer support, wellness and educational programs, contact:
PATHWAYS WOMEN'S CANCER SUPPORT
We believe all women can embrace who they are,
can define their future, and can change the world.
PINK LIGHTNING DRAGON BOAT TEAM offers women a low impact physical activity that helps relieve stress, improve fitness and boost stamina. Paddling strengthens and tone muscles while offering encouragement and inspiration to one another as we enjoy the camaraderie of our team.
Our team consists of cancer survivors and supporters who are committed to the fight against breast cancer and to providing opportunities for women to share in experiences leading to their personal healing and a feeling of empowerment.
PINK LIGHTNING DRAGON BOAT TEAM aspires to foster compassion, community and empowerment among breast cancer survivors, and the family, partners and friends who support us.