Submitted by Paula Farias
We are already 12 teams of Pink Paddlers in Chile, who yearn to achieve our rehabilitation practicing the sport of paddling in Dragon Boat, a visionary dream of our founder Monica Hernandez who upon hearing in 2017 in Brazil, Dr. Don McKenzie talk about the benefits that the practice of this sport had on women survivors of breast cancer and she wanted to establish it in our country.
At the beginning it was not easy, for several reasons: the sport of Dragon Boat was not known or practiced in Chile (we are the pioneers), the medical centers did not support this activity due to lack of knowledge and therefore there were no interested people. But applying one of her personal mottos "when you want it, you can", she continued insisting and looking for Paddling Roses. That is how life united us one day in April 2019 and we began to walk the same path together, Monica with all her experience and me living the second chance that God had given me, so we united our hopes, our work, and turned this pink movement into our reason for living.
Today we are advising on the formation of teams in Chile, through the search for suitable coaches, clubs that provide boats, medical support and mainly to charm Chilean women survivors of this disease, a disease that often has left us very damaged physically and psychologically.
Fortunately we are already being heard, our voice reaches further and further, we want to reach the heart of each of the survivors throughout our country, to show them that this movement is the other face of cancer, a face full of hope that we have the right to enjoy and make it ours.
And our experience has reached our neighboring countries, Peru and Bolivia. We are working together with them to start the pink story in their countries and thus continue demonstrating that “exercise is medicine”.