Submitted by Paula Farias NR Chile
This year we received a great invitation to participate in the Dragon Boat Festival for women breast cancer survivors to be held in Brasilia. We immediately began to organize ourselves to be able to attend, each team worked hard to obtain the necessary economic resources for the trip, as this became a dream that we had to fulfill.
For the teams Fortale-Senos Chile and Fortalesenos Araucanía it was our second international Festival, and for Remos Arriba, Fortalesenos Calama and Rosas de Santo Domingo it was our first.
During the week of October 25-29, the Festival was held, we were more than 350 women from different countries: Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, Panama, Canada, United States, Trinidad and Tobago and of course our great Chilean delegation.
Chile participated with a total of 53 women from different teams that throughout Chile practice this sport of physical and emotional rehabilitation, they belong to: Fortale-Senos Chile from the city of Santiago, participated with 17 paddlers, Fortalesenos Araucanía from the City of Nueva Imperial, participated with 9 paddlers, Fortale-Senos Calama from the same city, participated with 1 paddler, Remo Arriba from the city of Concón, participated with 7 paddlers, Rosas de Santo Domingo from the same city participated with 14 paddlers, plus 3 volunteers and 2 coaches.
The highlight was the Chilean participation with two boats completely made up of breast cancer survivors, each with its own crew, two drummers and two steers. For more than four years we have continued to lead in the training of steers, without the need to use volunteers.
We lived moments full of emotions, we were able to connect with women from other countries where the language barrier did not exist, we were united not by cancer, but by the desire to live and that was reflected in every hug, in every stroke...
The practice of this sport that began as a rehabilitation led us to be able to represent our country in every regatta, to represent all breast cancer survivors and to show that we have a beautiful life full of challenges after our diagnoses.
For many, it was the first time they left their homes alone outside the country, the first flight in an airplane, the first participation in a Festival, the first time they boarded a Dragon Boat. Undoubtedly this experience was magical, we are with full hearts, eager to continue paddling, because we realized that limits do not exist if we work together, we are able to achieve dreams and to demonstrate that "exercise is medicine" for the body and soul.