Today I am changing my pace, about a month ago, I went to the DFW Dragonboat Festival for free entertainment, what I got instead was inspiration, to go out and tackle my dreams because no matter the circumstance you can be a warrior and accomplish your dreams.
Ok Jen, what in the world are you talking about?
I often state that there is more to life than your job, that while your job is a part of your life, it truly does not have to be your life. It is important to hug the ones you love, challenge yourself and remember life is short. Every once in awhile, you meet someone (or multiple someones in my case) that inspire you & and remind you that you can overcome even the greatest obstacles and live life to the fullest! Which is something I think all of us need to be reminded of from time to time.
You really must live every day like there is no tomorrow. You never know when you will have an accident or a life-changing diagnosis that to some may feel like a death sentence, which brings me to the ugly words no one wants to hear.
You have Breast Cancer.
To some this might feel like a death sentence, in fact in 2015, 231,840 cases of breast cancer were diagnosed & of those, 40,290 men and women lost their lives to breast cancer. SO it is not a giant leap to fear this diagnosis.
However, the women I met this past weekend who are both survivors and fighting breast cancer… to them the breast cancer diagnosis made them warriors, not victims and their message is clear. There is life after a breast cancer diagnosis.
I was fortunate to have spent an entire day with the first EVER Dallas Breast Cancer Survivor Dragon Boat racing team. They are on the road to Italy and I have never felt more inspired by a group of ladies than I did that day. I chatted with quite a few of the ladies & I am glad I took the chance to meet them.
I really wish I could do these ladies justice & convey just how inspiring they are but I don’t think I will be able to do that with just a simple blog post.
Before I dive into this weekend, let me give you the details.
What is Dragon-boat Racing?
A dragon boat team is made up of 20 paddlers sitting two abreast and a steersperson in a 40-foot long, canoe-like boat moving to the beat of a drummer at the bow. The boat is very stable, and no prior paddling experience is required.
OK Jen, when did Dragon boat Racing start?
Ah young grasshopper, dragon boat racing has been around for centuries. It dates back to China and is very important aspect of their culture. There are multiple origin stories but the reoccurring story goes like this:
Qu Yuan (340–278 BC) was a patriotic poet and a loyal official of the state of Chu during the Warring States Period.
Qu Yuan was born in a ruling family and served in high offices. He was the number one advisor of the Kingdom of Chu, and dedicated his whole life to assisting the king to build the State of Chu stronger.
He advised the King to ally with the State of Qi (one of the seven warring states: Qi, Chu, Yan, Han, Zhao, Wei, and Qin) to fight against the most powerful State of Qin. However, he was slandered by jealous officials and accused of treason, and the King dismissed and exiled him.
During his exile, Qu Yuan wrote a great deal of enduring poems showing his love and passion for his country, some of which are still very famous in China.
In 278 BC, the Qin State conquered the capital of Chu. On hearing of the defeat, Qu Yuan in great despair committed suicide by drowning himself in the Miluo River on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month.
The rest is legend… When they heard of Qu Yuan’s death, the local people were very sad, and rowed out on the river to search for his body, but were unable to find him. To preserve his body, the locals paddled their boats up and down the river, hitting the water with their paddles and beating drums to scare evil spirits away. They threw lumps of rice into the river to feed the fish, so that they would not eat Qu Yuan’s body.
An old Chinese doctor poured realgar wine into the river to poison the monsters and to protect Qu Yuan.
Fun Fact: Eating Zongzi is one of the most popular Dragon Boat Festival traditions.
No I don’t know what Zongzi is.
What is DUC Pink? (Taken directly from their website)
DALLAS UNITED PINK is Dallas’ first dragon boat team for breast cancer survivors and we are currently recruiting BCS paddlers. Join us on the water! PINK welcomes all male and female breast cancer survivors. No paddling experience is necessary, but those with a “warrior spirit” or looking to develop a “warrior spirit” are always welcome!” There IS life after breast cancer, and our team is about WINNING, both as survivors and on the water.
The benefits of dragon boating for breast cancer survivors are many, including:
- Focus on health and physical fitness
- Increased strength – both mentally and physically
- Camaraderie, teamwork, friendship and social support in a positive environment
- A sense of accomplishment and improved overall quality of life
- The ability to compete with other BSC paddlers at regional dragon boat festivals
- The opportunity to raise awareness about breast cancer survivorship and dragon boating
- Have FUN and enjoy the outdoors!
I absolutely LOVE their message there is life after breast cancer and their message is clear, you can beat this and you can beat the other dragon boat teams while you are at it!
If you are a survivor of breast cancer or even currently battling breast cancer please reach out to this team, they are there for you.
Let me give you a very quick rundown on my day, I want to save the good stuff for later posts.
So I arrived at the festival around 8 am, it was pretty chilly & I arrived just in time to witness DUC Pink’s qualifying race.
I didn’t know what to expect so I just came, sat to the side and observed the team
The team warmed up & then proceeded to their race.
The team would race multiple times through out the day.
Not gonna lie, dragon boat racing is actually A LOT of fun watching.
I want to keep this post very very brief mostly because I want to dive much deeper into the day with a few posts. I can assure you the day was inspiring & I absolutely can’t wait for their next event.
I really enjoyed spending the day at this event. I have a ton of photos but I am going to share a few more posts in the coming days, as this post BARELY gets into what the team is about.
Feel free to comment below, also if you know anyone that is dealing with a breast cancer diagnosis in the DFW area I urge you to reach out. I also learned multiple teams like this are around the country so reach out to them!