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April 2015 Newsletter

P A G E 1 1S A R A S O T A - B R A D E N T O N certainly did not come to Sarasota with any delusions of repeating this incredible feat. We just got out there, did our best, trusted our teammates, paddled as never before and tried to improve with each outing. We were ex- tremely fortunate to finish as we did. It was such a wonderful event in Sarasota. I feel that ALL of the women who competed or watched their teammates compete were winners in that LARGER battle that we constantly fight. Q: It seems that your husband is a big part of your dragon boat races. How much has he influenced your coaching and racing decision? A: David has always encouraged me to follow my dreams and given me the unwavering sup- port to achieve them. We have worked to- gether daily in our sport medicine clinic for more than 30 years. He knows me well and knows my passion. He respects my need to follow the path that breast cancer dragon boat- ing has lead me on and he is happy to help our team in any way he can - as a husband, an en- thusiastic spectator, and the team's sports medicine physician. Q: Did you start paddling in your boat or coaching? You also take the drum seat and steer, explain how you started with dragon boating. A: When I started the team in 1998, I was a complete novice. I knew nothing about the sport. My best friend showed me an article about a sports medicine doc in Vancouver and (Continued from page 6) the study that he did with a group of breast cancer patients to disprove the myth that upper extremity exercise would lead to com- plications, such as lymphedema. I worked in sports medicine and with athletes all day long, but at that time, I really wasn't one myself. Dragon boating changed that. David knew Dr. McKenzie, so I was able to speak with him. I started a team and managed to find a coach. I had to learn to paddle prop- erly for dragon boating, and was a paddler for years. I then learned to steer, as we real- ized that we needed to have a "survivor" steering the breast cancer races. I went to training camps to learn and grow as a steers person, and as a drummer. I loved the experience. I was fortu- nate to work with many great coaches and gleaned what I could from each of them. I eventually had the courage to try coaching. It's an ongoing process as I am always learning and grow- ing. I learn from beginning paddlers and from sea- soned coaches. The learn- ing and the growing what keeps me going. Each and every teammate on every team I'm associated with helps me to grow and love this sport even more! Q: Is there anything you would like to add for our readers / audience? A: Breast cancer dragon boat teams are a lot of fun. They include wives, mothers, workers, and housewives, many of whom have never given themselves the time to take care of themselves. Dragon boating provides opportunity to not just get fit, but to become part of a special family of ATH- LETES. The growth is great, the experience is wonderful, but it is not without its heart- aches. To join a team means you've been given a life-changing sentence. As part of the team, you share both the highs and the lows. The lows inevitably touch all of us, as a teammate loses her battle with this terri- ble disease. It affects us all, it reminds us all and it binds us all. It's the stuff that makes 20 paddlers, a drummer and a steer per- son ‘one’. It can be a rough ride, but a great one. I have to believe that this sport gives much more than it takes. Paddles up! Who is Kathy Levy? By Linda Dallman-Repp Purchasing the End Breast Cancer specialty license plate for an additional $30.00 each year is a visible way to show your support in the fight to end breast cancer. To purchase your End Breast Cancer license plate, visit

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