BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Over fifty teams competed in a special event today in the Outer Harbor. Hope Chest, a group that empowers breast cancer survivors, held dragon boat races. The Outer Harbor was filled with thousands of participants for the 5th annual race.
Susan Gately, president of the organization, explained what dragon boat racing is. She said, “We have 50 teams and on each team there are 22 people. Plus a drummer and a steer person. The drummer really controls the beat of the paddling. So they play a pretty important role.”
Along with participants hundreds of others cheerleaders and survivors came out, all to benefit Hope Chest of Buffalo.
Two participants, Renee Biscotto and Lisa Cummins, part of Graphic Controls team, thought it was an empowering and inspiring event. They said, “It’s a wonderful event for a great cause.”
Hope Chest was founded in 2000 and has been able to provide women who are fighting cancer and women who have beat the disease, an outlet to communicate, relate, and work out with other women who have experienced the same hardship.
Survivor Doreen Fahey shared with channel 4 her thoughts on the group, “We’ve got such a great support group, you know any time someone is down, they come, get out on the water, and they’re up again. You know it just takes their cares away.”
Many women there said that the positive mindset they were able to establish through the support group was a huge part in their healing process.
The group of over 200 women don’t stay put in Buffalo. They also travel to compete and to meet other survivors.
Fahey said, “We’ve paddled with people from Ireland, Italy, Florence, and Australia. It’s just been amazing. Some of them couldn’t even speak English but we still had that same bond. We got a hug and we didn’t even really know them.”
This group shares a sense of unity not only by what they’ve gone through but also by what they wear. Aside from the uniform they use while rowing, each lady has a necklace that is special to them.
Fahey explained, “We all got this paddler as a remembrance from our journey.”
If you want to become part of this amazing organization you can find more information by clicking here.