Sometime in December 2016, a fellow breast cancer survivor in the name of Grace Diomare excitedly shared to us her recent sport activity which is Dragon Boating during our ICANSERVE Foundation’s Christmas Party. She told us the positive physical impact of dragon boating to her health condition and eagerly invited us to try it. In January 21, 5 members of ICANSERVE Foundation replied to Grace’s invitation and tried paddling on that day. True enough all 5 were excited and really felt good after that amazing experience being in the boat. So that was where it started, since that inception, the team grew sometime in March when it was able to fill up a small boat. The team was first recognized as ICANSERVE dragon boat team until it transitioned to CEBU PINK PADDLERS INC. when SEC registration was approved in July 13, 2017.
The Cebu Pink Paddlers Inc. Dragon Boat Team is the very first all breast cancer survivor’s dragon boat team in the Philippines. The team was created to spread awareness for early detection and to inspire those who have fought, and those who are still fighting breast cancer to give them hope and to show that there is life after diagnosis. We paddle, supporting and inspiring the fighters, admiring the survivors, honouring and remembering the taken. Our team is dedicated to have a healthy lifestyle, improving fitness and the quality of life. We demonstrate that women with breast cancer can continue to lead active lives.
The very first race experience we had was on April 28-30, 2017 when we bravely participated CEBU DRAGONBOAT FIESTA 2017 held at Cebu Yacht Club Lapu-lapu City, Cebu, despite having only nearly two months of training. Well, that awesome experience gave us a turning point to train harder and be competitive with regular teams. Challenged with that experience, we thought of getting a person to lead and train us the proper execution or technique of dragon boating, and we really thank the Lord for giving us a coach in the name of Christian Sy who not only train us but gave his all, his best knowledge of dragon boating. That was when our rigid trainings and sacrifices started, where we wake up at 3 am for sea training at 4:30 am.,though not all members have the capacity to wake up to train without thinking of other obligations outside the team. Every day is a challenge for each and every member. What drives us to focus in every training and to set our eyes on winning is the common cause borne out of our experience and the struggles in fighting the Big C and beating it. Training has never been easy as members are not exactly full-pledged athletes with the expected skills, discipline, agility and physical prowess but with the passion and advocacy within the members , we were able to have regular schedules of Land trainings three times a week handled by a physical therapist and doctor of medicine for strengthening and endurance, pool training once a week and sea training three (3) times a week.
We have proven ourselves during our very first International race when we bagged Gold in 500 meter and 200 meter races under the Breast Cancer Survivor Category in the 2017 Keelung International Dragon Boat Festival against teams from Hongkong, Taiwan and the United States of America.
Inspired and motivated with this achievement, we have been training and accepting invitations to participate in local and international races some of which are the upcoming CEBU DRAGON BOAT FIESTA 2018 at the City of Naga Boardwalk on April 13-15, 2018, 12th BORACAY INTERNATIONAL DRAGON BOAT FESTIVAL on April 19-21, MARINA DRAGONBOAT REGATTA 2018 in Singapore on May 25-26, 2018, and 2018 KEELUNG INTERNATIONAL DRAGON BOAT FESTIVAL in Taiwan on October to defend our title.
Truly, the Cebu Pink Paddlers Dragon Boat Team is stronger than Cancer! We will continue to fight for the gold! We will continue to inspire! We will continue to be examples of courage. We will continue to live life to the fullest.