Their motto is fun, fitness and friendship, but members of the Kamloops Spirit Warriors describe the club as more of a sisterhood than anything.
The dragon-boat team made of breast cancer survivors are just getting their paddles into the water as the new season began in the beginning of May. The club formed in 2008 as a way for breast cancer survivors to stay active and relate with other survivors.
Returning for her fourth year is Joan Duhaime who joined the team after finishing her treatment in 2012.
“I just enjoyed my time with the ladies and came back the second year and got the bug. I love paddling now, I would never want to leave it,” said Duhaime.
Serving as a president for the club last season, Duhaime says the club feels more like a sisterhood than a sports club.
“We’ve all been through the same thing,” she explained. “When you suffer from breast cancer they do all weird and wonderful things to your body. When you’re done all of that, you’re just kind of left there.”
Dragon boating has become a popular pastime for breast cancer survivors as the workout is focused on the upper body.
The club also serves as a support group for the family members of survivors, said Duhaime.
“It enables our husbands and families to get together as well. It’s not only for the women. It’s been a great support for the men. When your partner is a caregiver, they need some support too.”
The season began on May 3 with around 20 members. The club is looking for more members this season as they prepare for competitions in Kamloops, Penticton and Salmon Arm.
“No matter where you are in your treatment, come give it a try. If you get too tired, you can just relax and enjoy the ride,” said Duhaime.
The club meets at Pioneer Park on Tuesdays and Thursdays around 5:15.
For more information, visit their website.