1. Pink Well Challenge Finalist Profile: Indy SurviveOars


    Indy SurviveOars is a dragon boat racing team consisting of breast cancer survivors and their support network dedicated to promoting the physical and emotional rehabilitation for breast cancer survivors.  The team promotes physical wellness by using the sport of dragon boat racing to break through scar tissue and to reduce lymphodema, a common post operative side effect.  The team must work together to move the boat through the water creating a common goal for the group.  This common goal creates an emotional bond among the group; supporting and encouraging each other to complete work outs and races. 

    Our mission is to provide breast cancer survivors with hope, inspiration and encouragement by creating a ʻfloating support group”. We encourage exercise while

    Enjoying the atmosphere of camaraderie, the beauty of the water and the thrill of competing.

    The team practices regularly from April through September.  In addition, the team promotes off-season work outs in order to maintain their physical stamina.  Throughout the year, the team makes appearances in the Indianapolis community in order to promote breast cancer awareness and the benefits of dragon boat racing.

    The greatest accomplishment is the establishment and sustainment of the team.  Being able build this type of organization, of which none exist in the state of Indiana, and get the committed involvement of so many in the community has been a dream come true.  Being able to see the immediate benefits to so many of these women has made the effort that much sweeter.

    Since there is no cure for breast cancer we have to do something to help these women as they fight the battle!   Indy SurviveOars represents a positive response to a deadly disease.  THERE IS LIFE AFTER BREAST CANCER!  An active, fun, powerful, upbeat and vigorous life!

    Continuing to build the core team membership is always a top priority for the team.  A larger team membership base allows more visibility in the community.  The team wants to be recognized as a top breast cancer organization in the state.  Our goal is to eventually have dragon boat racing available to all cancer survivors. 

    The Indy SurviveOars have been blessed with the support of our community both professionally and personally since its inception in May of 2007.  We have started a grant fund to “pay if forward” .  We will use part of the Pink Well funds to pay it forward to groups who are connected to the cancer fight.  We will use another part of the Pink Well funds to help our team members who are unable to travel to races due to hardship.  We call this money “Cares and Concerns.”   Since day one Indy SurviveOars have wanted to provide both of these ideas but did not have the dollars to fund the two areas.  With Pink Well we will be able to do that!   We will also use a part of the Pink Well money to help our paddlers travel to the upcoming World Breast Cancer Championship where 2000 breast cancer survivors come together for a weekend of camaraderie and racing. 

    Any individual on the team is a success story by them self.  They have survived breast cancer and thrived.  The growth and direction of the team over the past 4 years is also a success story.  The team started as an unrealized dream in a one off conversation and has grown into a full time breast cancer support center.

     When the team first began, they learned how to paddle while sitting on chairs and on the floor. They graduated to the side of a pool. At that point, they had not seen a dragon boat!  The launch of the dragon boat was in April and their first breast cancer race was scheduled for July. Imagine women of all ages, weight, ability, and in different times of their treatment getting into this boat. They were so bad, but determined to learn since they were having so much fun. It takes 20 paddlers, a steer’s person and a drummer to fill the boat. We could also have 4 alternates. The team was able to fill the roster by July and showed up in Windsor, Canada with paddlers and a support group that numbered in the 60ʼs! Indy SurviveOars were barely a year old as a team and managed to get into the championship race. They had a photo finish with 3 other boats of .064 from 1st place!! It was an amazing accomplishment and success for all the breast cancer survivors.