The Israel Cancer Association sails Dragon Boat steered by breast cancer patients as well as survivors who are "Yad Lehachlama" (Reach to Recovery) Volunteers
The Dragon Boat Festival will be held on the Sea of Galilee for the second time this year on May 9-10.
This ancient festival originates in China, and was conceived over two thousand years ago; its origins are believed to have a basis in colorful religious ritual and celebration, possibly involving battles between crews in boats with wooden dragon designs. At the turn of the 20th century, this festival was transported to Canada, and today, these races take place in 70 countries around the world.
The Israel Cancer Association will be participating in the event for the second time, with a group of 20 paddlers who are "Yad Lehachlama" - "Reach to Recovery" volunteers, who have added breast cancer patients and survivors to their ranks.
The twenty women representing the Israel Cancer Association who are taking part in this race have personal stories that involve coping with the disease and its ensuing complications.
The Israel Cancer Association "Yad Lehachlama" group is comprised of volunteer breast cancer survivors who have been trained to assist patients recently diagnosed with the disease. These volunteers provide consultation, visit patients and provide them with support. Accompaniment and assistance are provided free of charge to every woman coping with breast cancer across Israel, built on the following principle: a woman who has lived through breast cancer and gives freely of her time to help another woman facing the same experience.
Based on research studies spanning the past 20 years, it has emerged that physical activity is safe and beneficial for breast cancer patients and survivors.
Paddling activity, which mainly involves the upper portion of the body, has been scientifically shown to be an important activity for patients and survivors, as it increases the range of motion, activates the muscular and skeletal system as well as depleted muscles, invigorates the immune system, and gets the lymphatic system back in working order.
Additionally, the team spirit and feeling of "togetherness" contributed to patients' and survivors' emotional reinforcement so that they can better cope with the disease and its aftermath.
As aptly depicted by one of the participants: "When I paddle in the dragon boat, I feel free, happy, invigorated, rejuvenated and powerful".
To contact "Yad Lehachlama" volunteers (in Hebrew), please click here or call: 1-800-36-07-07.
This activity was made possible thanks to Roche Pharmaceuticals, the company orchestrating the "Roche Lends a Hand" project.