Join Busting Out!
By Shelagh Needham
Our boat glides gently through the water as we paddle past waterfowl and the yellow lilies growing in the reeds. A loon adds its song to our own. The air is soft and warm. We are Busting Out, Ottawa’s dragon boat program of breast cancer survivors. We paddle to raise awareness and also to help and support those who have completed treatment, because we have been there too.
Some of us have been paddling since the team’s inception in 1998, two years after the first survivor team was started in Vancouver. Others have only recently joined Busting Out and are still finding their way. We are from all walks of life and come together twice a week (on Tuesday and Thursday evenings) to paddle along the Rideau River from the canoe club. Anyone who has had breast cancer is welcome. Currently the program numbers more than 65 members.
Throughout the season (from May to October) we paddle at dragon boat festivals, mostly in Ontario, and in the winter we attend fitness classes together. We are not just paddlers – some of us hike and bike or swim together and there are often team get togethers. After just one season of paddling new members are often amazed at how much they have accomplished, both physically and mentally. We sing, we laugh and, sometimes, we cry together.
Come and join us, your sisters are waiting to welcome you.
If you would like information about Busting Out and the Dragon Boat program, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.