On March 30, 2022, a group of women with brave hearts, all cancer survivors, founded the ‘DragonHeart’ team, one of the crews competing in the Pan American Dragon Boat Championship that started yesterday in the Amador Causeway.
It all started with seven ladies cancer survivors who had once rowed. Inspiring and motivating other women is her goal, her great objective. Since then, new members have been added and today –says Sandy Echevers, a founding member– they already have 20 ‘dragons’ and are still looking for other cancer survivors who want to try it.
“Our first competition was last October and we won 3 silver medals and one bronze from the four races in which we participated”, highlighted Mrs. Echevers.
The DragonHeart crew competes in the “All Cancer Survivors” (ACS) category of the Dragon Boat Pan American, whose celebration will last in our country until March 19.
Yesterday, the competition began with a 2,000-meter run. Today they will return to the sea to cover 1,000 meters, tomorrow 500 meters. and on Sunday 200 meters.
Trained by Juan Carlos Del Río, recognized in the world of this sport, the members of ‘DragonHeart’ have crews from the United States, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, among others, as rivals.
“Paddling with the heart against cancer” is the motto of these brave ladies, who with their dedication and sacrifice seek to leave a very clear message: “after cancer there is life.”
“For cancer survivors, this sport is therapeutic and scientifically proven. Avoid lymphedema, which is swelling of the arm where the nodes have been emptied. It restores mobility to the arm on the side where the mastectomy was performed,” says Echevers.
“The diagnosis of cancer is not a death sentence, it is a rebirth to a new, fuller life,” he added.
The members of ‘DragonHeart’ are the living example that age is just a number. In the team there are rowers from 44 to 73 years old. “It is not necessary to be a lifelong athlete to start practicing this sport and it is advisable to know how to swim, but it is not an impediment,” said Sandy Echevers.