Breast cancer survivors benefiting from dragon boating
DRAGONS Abreast Gold Coast might bring colour and fun to the water of the Currumbin Alley and many breast cancer survivors' lives, but research shows it is so much more.
Regularly positive research is being published about the benefits for women doing exercise after breast cancer, from reducing the risk of a breast cancer re-diagnosis, to reducing the effects of lymphoedema.
Lorelle Eltherington, of Coomera, who recently completed a course of radiotherapy after a re-diagnosis of breast cancer, is among the 50-plus members of the Dragons Abreast club.
"At the age of 37 I was diagnosed with breast cancer - my children were aged 17, 16 and 5," she says.
"After a lumpectomy, there wasn't enough clearance around the cancer, so I needed a partial mastectomy. I then travelled to the Mater Hospital in Brisbane each weekday for five weeks for radiotherapy.
"As most survivors understand, yearly check-ups are always nerve-racking but, as each year passed, I felt a little safer - especially after I reached those milestones of five and then 10 years.
"It was a huge shock when, last year, after 23 years I was once again diagnosed with breast cancer in the other breast."
In March 2016 Lorelle had a lumpectomy followed by radiotherapy, now available on the Gold Coast.
"My recovery was much quicker this time ... firstly the operation didn't cause me as much physical stress as the first time and, secondly, after the initial soreness had passed, I kept up with my dragon boat paddling.
"I paddled all through radiotherapy and I'm sure this helped keep my body and head in a good place.
"I like competing, because it pushes me to do the best I can do.
"But it's also about awareness - so other people know that there's life after breast cancer.
"I think dragon boating also helps mentally to get back to the normal flow of life.
"I recently had my yearly test and everything seems to be going okay."
Dragons Abreast Gold Coast is a club that welcomes all abilities and age groups, so whether you want to join in to benefit your health, and be surrounded by women who understand, or just for fun, they'd love to see you.
The club offers up to four training sessions a week on Currumbin Creek.
First three sessions are free.
Call seniors coach Lorrie Ledwell on 0417 433 389 for details.