Meet the Dragon Warriors Against Cancer

During Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we are bombarded with invitations to join marathons, walkathons and biking events in the name of raising money and awareness for charities. Dragon boating definitely isn’t your regular breast cancer survivor activity.


The Annapolis Dragon Boat Club founder Mike Ashford wanted to make cancer survivors feel good about themselves again by being part of a team sport like Dragon Boating. It is an awesome way of incorporating fitness into their lives as survivors and doubles as a support group as well. Members relayed how their own battle against cancer relates to their experience in the group:


“You can’t paddle a dragon boat alone just like you can’t beat cancer alone… and you don’t have to — there are others in the boat with you.”

If you have ever witnessed a dragon boat race before, then you might think that it might not be the best option for a recovering cancer patient as it takes a lot of strength and endurance to help race a boat to the finish line. However, Ashford recounted the lives they have transformed using this sport.


“It’s amazing to see people who are wounded and knocked down be so happy and do so great,” Ashford said. “I don’t like to use the word survivors, I like the word warriors because we are warring against cancer.”

They have had women who were weak and depressed when they first joined the group and have found new and stronger versions of themselves thanks to dragon boating. Ashford founded the group in 2011 after winning his own battle against breast cancer.

Photos grabbed from the International Breast Cancer Paddlers’ Commission 

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