Please activate JavaScript!
Please install Adobe Flash Player, click here for download

April 2015 Newsletter

Who is Kathy Levy? by Linda Dallman-Repp Kathy is a nurse and manager of a Sports Medicine Clinic, an occasional snowbird who migrates sea- sonally from Hamil- ton, ON., Canada to Sarasota, Florida, a woman who had breast cancer, Founder and Coach of Knot A Breast dragon boat team, two-time world champion of the IPBC dragon boat races, and mentor to Survivors In Sync, the newly formed dragon boat team of Sarasota, Florida. Kathy has been in the grassroots of Breast Cancer dragon boat racing. This sport grew out of a study to disprove the theory that women, treated with surgery and radiation for breast cancer, should avoid strenuous upper body exercise for fear that they would develop lym- phedema, a painful swelling of the arm. This study was started by Dr. Don McKenzie in 1995 in Vancouver, Canada, where he started the 1st BCDB team. In 1998, Kathy founded Knot A Breast dragon boat team, becoming the 9th such team in Canada and the 1st team in the world to have a man join. I am fortunate enough to be on the newly formed Sarasota dragon boat team, Survivors In Sync (SIS), a team established by Angela Long in 2013. Kathy Levy took us under her coaching wing when she was in Sarasota, Florida. No boat? No problem. Sitting at her community pool with paddles, she taught us the infamous A frame paddling technique. Kathy is a small-stature person with a lot of spit fire and a voice the size of a lions roar. When she is in the boat with us, it is serious business. She created a team of athletes. She brought team camaraderie and spirit like no other. I think this is her secret ingredient in developing the world's winning team. Let's dig a little deeper into the energy that Kathy brings to her coaching. Q: Coach Kathy, it has been said you have so much determination to develop an athletic team. What brought this quality out in you? A: A couple of things have most likely contrib- uted to my determination. Firstly, I was always small and have had health challenges since my preteen years and was told that I "couldn't do this" or "shouldn't do that." That was always a each other and learning to trust each other. It's about coming together as a group of individuals and learning to paddle as one. We did not enter the 2010 world champi- onship thinking that we might win, and we (Continued on page 11) red cape in front of me, as I was always determined to 'never give up, never give in'. Secondly, Knot A Breast, like all breast cancer dragon boat teams, is made up of proud, brave and determined women who came together after being faced with a terrible reality and put through treatments that take an awful toll on their very being. They are there to prove to themselves, to their families, and to all who are witness that they can lead a full and happy life after a diagnosis of breast cancer. We come together as a floating sup- port group but I have always felt that, on land we are a support group but on water we are athletes. We have fun but we push ourselves and each other and feel better after each practice than we did before practice started. I've always wanted others to see us for what we are, not "survivors," but athletes. Q: Being a two time champion of the world breast cancer dragon boat races, is there one quality that you think made your team a win- ning team? A: I really think that it's the camaraderie and the process that has helped us to succeed. We don't start the season thinking about race outcomes. Coming from Canada, with a shorter on-water training season and racing season, we get into our boats just ex- cited to get back to the sport that we love. It's infectious and as a group we seem to thrive on it. Each prac- tice is about the process of getting a little better, improving our tech- nique, learning from P A G E 6

Pages Overview