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From one side of the world to the other

We absolutely love this story below from Edith Cooper, Brisbane, Australia. Edith holds a special place in the heart of our President as it was Edith who at the festival in Caloundra, Australia, 2007 encouraged Meri to pursue a dragon boat career and to follow her heart and goals within the sport. They have stayed close friends over the years, and even though they live in different countries they really enjoy meeting up at any chance they can.

Edith’s story of hope and philanthropy

Brisbane hosted a “Reach to Recovery International Breast Cancer Conference”. I was responsible for finding home stays for all the women from Africa, China and Malaysia. One of my neighbours hosted 2 women from Uganda. One of them, Gertrude, is now CEO of Uganda Women’s Cancer Support Organisation in Kampala.

At the Conference a woman asked if there was some way for her to get a prosthesis as she had not had one for 5 years. I learnt of the need across Africa. In 2010 I sent off my first box (82 at this time) to Uganda. When Covid came and postal services stopped, DHL Uganda came to our rescue and for the last two years DHL have transported the boxes by air.

I have no idea how many prostheses have been sent but recently Gertrude said there were at least 500 women in Uganda without one. I will continue to collect and send to Uganda.

Australian women mostly have lumpectomies but there seems to still be a steady supply as Australian women are able to get a free replacement every two years.

I am always excited to know when a consignment arrives safely in Uganda. Over the years women have come to know about my project and prostheses appear on my doorstep. I am sure this will continue. Maybe my project will inspire others and I hope eventually it may lead to the establishment of a dragon boat team, there.

Edith would be the perfect person to lead such an outreach to Uganda as she is an amazing sweep/steer and incredibly encouraging of any newbie paddler.