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Paddling with Hope: Strength and Sisterhood in a Dragon Boat

We started our 15th year in 2021 thinking we would not be able to get back in the boats for the second year in a row due to COVID. Yet, we ended the paddling season, 88 members strong, with an awesome opportunity to kick-off Breast Cancer Awareness Month with breast cancer survivors and fellow dragon boat paddlers across the nation.

Our team, The Dragon Dream Team of Akron, Ohio is so proud and honored to have represented these two communities in a Good Morning America (GMA) segment on October 5, 2021.

We demonstrated our strength, hope, and sisterhood on Portage Lakes in Akron and in Pittsburgh with our BCS sisters, Hearts of Steel, in our journey to support each other through the sport of dragon boating. Our story, our outreach program “Boatloads of Hope,” and our passion demonstrate that you can get past the words “you have breast cancer.” This sport has assisted us in moving forward by utilizing exercise medicine to live an active life while gaining control of our lives after breast cancer.

Thousands of global viewers tuned into GMA as we shared our story of HOPE and our love of dragon boating with other survivors to move forward in the mission to fight against breast cancer using the power of the paddle. To quote one of our members, Amy Synk, outreach, and dragon boating “provides hope to the newly diagnosed, and that hope is a nebulous gift, it is in times like these that we can recognize the power of hope. That sometimes the only thing to cling to for some semblance of normalcy is hope. And at the time of a diagnosis, it is this that is our saving grace.”

Through our 15 years, we have created an amazing sisterhood. Camaraderie, strength, and inspiration – together we fight and paddle as one – DRAGON DREAM TEAM!

Paddles UP!

Barb Fox and Monica Siko