Cyprus: Maria Miltiadous
New Country Liaison
I started paddling in 2017 with Raging Mouflons as the first paddler of a newly founded Pink Mouflons team. The team was founded in 2016 by a group of women with no experience of cancer and who themselves were paddling in the Raging Mouflons team. They recruited me and I was the first Breast Cancer Survivor in the club (Cyprus Mouflons PaddleSports). I joined the practice sessions with great enthusiasm. In 2015, I was diagnosed with breast cancer but I was not aware of pink dragon boating teams until 2017, when the team manager informed me of the existence of pink dragon boating teams around the world. After thorough research, I discovered the benefits of this sport for women who have gone through breast cancer. When I realised how beneficial the sport is, I decided to contact the president of Europa Donna Cyprus as the first pink paddler in Cyprus in order to organise an awareness event which would aim to inform breast cancer survivors on the importance of team exercise as well as to exchange information. Europa Donna Cyprus and its President embraced this endeavor that could possibly encourage other women to join the sport and create a pink team. In April 2018, the Cyprus Federation of Dragon Boat organised the 10th International Dragon Boat Festival in Limassol, Cyprus. With the arrival of the International Pink Sisters, the first BCS team to visit the island, we had the amazing opportunity to invite members of Europa Donna to experience the thrill of paddling for the first time. This was an opportunity for us to create our own pink team,Pink Mouflons. Pink Mouflons is a ten-member team who attempt to inform other women about the sport. In 2019, I paddled with the International Pink Sisters in Amsterdam at the Boosban Festival. We also paddled on the Amsterdam canals and Iwas thoroughly amazed at the response we got from the public. We had crowds of people cheering us on, all along the canals for a total of 25 km. It made me realise what a great way this was to spread breast cancer awareness. In 2020, we were invited by the Pink Lionesses of Israel to travel to Israel. We participated in the Sea of Galilee Festival.This was another truly magnificent experience. I, as the team's captain, aim to encourage as many women as possible to join the sport and to recognise the positive impacts the sport has on our physical and mental health. Interacting with other breast cancer survivors can bring optimism. It leads us into understanding that we are well and we are doing something we love . We make friendships and we create life experiences. As a team, we also aim to create a second team in another city so more breast cancer survivors can practice systematically. We will always support them to be better and stronger. We will be attending the 2023 IBCPC Festival in New Zealand as part of thePink Vienna Dragons International.