Two weeks after being diagnosed, I met a very friendly Justine at the Lady Track Shack breast cancer 5K. She was at a booth with some other ladies, encouraging survivors to join her team. The team she was talking about is a Dragon Boat racing team, all survivors, Warriors on Water. I was intrigued, so I talked with her. She hugged me the moment I mentioned being newly diagnosed. I knew at that moment I wanted to join, but I didn’t even know what my treatment looked like at that time. I couldn’t commit just yet.
Fast forward to October, 2016. I walked the Making Strides breast cancer walk October 29. After the walk, while I was looking at the different vendors, one woman behind me asked if I wanted to go to Italy. I asked what she meant and she explained their team was preparing to race in the 2018 IBCPC Participatory Dragon Boat Festival in July. I was so excited when I heard her mention the dragon boat – it happened to be the same team I had spoken to Justine about. By this time, I was done with all my treatments. Even though I hadn’t fully regained my strength back, I told her to sign me up.
My first practice I felt so welcomed. I was barely able to keep up with these ladies, but they didn’t let me get discouraged. Instead, Yvette, the one I met in the line a couple weeks earlier, got everyone to sing happy birthday to me in the middle of the lake. We usually practice twice a week and we are working especially hard to prepare for the competition in Italy – currently there are 210 breast cancer survivor teams competing from around the world.
Money has been very tight for me since I was diagnosed. I was not able to work full time hours so I used all of my savings during my treatments. I took a job as an Office Administrator, and it pays enough to pay the bills – not much more.
I would be honored if you would contribute to my trip expenses – it has been a dream of mine to visit Italy since high school and I am excited that I get to be with some amazing women when I go for the first time...my silver lining.
Any funds that exceed my requested amount will be given to other survivors on the Warriors on Water team to help with their expenses.
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