Dragon Boating is an extremely popular activity for people affected by cancer and one that is offered as part of the Living Well Active menu of opportunities in Dorset. Through a research project by Dr McKenzie in Canada (link here) it has been proven that paddling helps to mend the muscles and can help control the consequences of treatment.
Pink Champagne was originally set up in 2008 by Dr Mary Mills, Layne Hamerston, Living Well active project lead and the healthcare professionals at Bournemouth hospital through a group of ladies to help them recover following breast cancer. The name Pink Champagne was suggested by a daughter of a team member to mean a celebration of life.
A small group of ladies quickly grew in numbers and before they knew it they were saving up to race in Canada. The event attracted 72 teams from all over the world to race in Canada with everyone and everything dressed in pink. The team came a fantastic 34th! From this, the team travelled to Sarasota in the USA last October and numerous other races in England and around the world.
Their aim is to spread the world about paddling and the benefits it has both physically and psychologically during recovery. Thanks to them they have set up their own Breast Cancer Dragon Boat team in Spain. There is a fantastic person centred support network available for the participants including attendance at Living Well Actives monthly motivational evenings and social events.
More recently the Pink Champagne ladies attended the Living Well active launch to promote their taster sessions and have featured on the BBC news promoting the benefits of the sport for people affected by cancer. Representatives have also attended our knowledge exchange events to speak about their journey.
Christine Bailey, a member of Pink Champagne says “Breast cancer is a bad thing, but the friendship that we have in Pink champagne and all over the world is a wonderful thing. We come for different walks of life and would never have met, but we are here for each other. We feel we have been given a second chance and were going for it. All in one boat together”.