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Team Rowbust - Letter from Linda Kuska

I was diagnosed with breast cancer 15 years ago, it was shortly after I finished my treatment that Rowbust started and I've been on the team since the beginning, so for 15 years! I really can't believe it has been around that long.

Rowbust started with a team of 25 team members and we now have 75 team members. Our youngest member was 27 years old and our oldest is 77 years young!

We respect all levels of paddling/fitness/commitment. We have a crew who comes out recreationally, we have a crew that is a little more committed and then we have our National crew......but we are ONE team!

We are a very, very blessed team!

Rowbust is 5 time Canadian National Champions in the Breast Cancer Survivor Division.

We are heading to Club Crew World Championships in Ravenna, Italy in 2 weeks!! This will be the 1st time that a Canadian BCS team will be competing at Worlds. But before we head to Italy, we are making a stop in London, England to mentor a Cancer team there. They have been struggling to start a Breast Cancer Survivor Dragon Boat Team, so we are going to meet with them, paddle with them and teach them how Rowbust started and hopefully give them some help...........we are "paying it forward" and we are calling this our "London to London" event!

As you know, dragon boating has been around for centuries. But dragon boating for breast cancer survivors started in 1995 in Vancouver. It was thought that women who had a mastectomy and lymph nodes removed could not do any upper extremity physical activity. A Physician, Dr. Don McKenzie in Vancouver did a research project to disprove this fact.

He was a flat water paddler and he thought, what better way to get a large number of women together to do upper extremity activity was dragon boating! The research projected lasted for a year, after that year the project was done and the team was disbanded......so he thought! But the women loved it so much that they started the first team for survivors.........the rest is history!

Now there are hundreds of breast cancer survivor teams world wide!

The benefits are truly amazing! Not only do we get to be with our "Peers" and it's not like we even talk about our cancer that much but we all know what we have all been through, we all know that it could come back again.........but we all know that we are there for each other, no matter what!

You can have a terrible day at work and then you get out on that water and the world is just a better place and you are rejuvenated!

We train regularly so we get stronger......we get stronger physically but we also get stronger mentally!

After everything that we have been through, it is truly an amazing feeling to get out on that water and you just feel FREE!! This is something that you do just for you..........as wives and mothers, we are always doing things for other people but this is just for us!!

It is a very empowering feeling.

I've been doing this for 15 years and I can count on 1 hand how many times that I have missed practice.........because the day is just not complete if you can't get out on that water.......it is just the best feeling in the world!

What better way for a cancer survivor, who has been at the bottom of the health spectrum, who at one point did not know if you would get to watch your kids grow up.....now be the fittest both mentally and physically ever in your life.......now that is priceless!!!

I hope that covers most things.......please let me know if you have questions or if you need more info......cause I could talk forever!
Linda
www.rowbustdragoboat.com



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