The Kootenay Robusters Dragon Boat Team celebrate the start of their building project and thank their many supporters. Photo: Submitted

The Kootenay Robusters Dragon Boat Team celebrate the start of their building project and thank their many supporters. Photo: Submitted

Kootenay Robusters gather to celebrate dragon boat den

The Robusters 2022 calendar is now available

Many locals are likely curious about what the Kootenay Robusters Dragon Boat Team has been up to in times of COVID-19.

The answer is, not even a pandemic can ground these dynamic athletes to dry land for long.

Read more: Kootenay Robusters park the dragon for the season

Read more: KBRH donation especially meaningful

One of the loftiest achievements they’ve completed over the past few years is to secure a home for their dragon boat.

To officially recognize their new den — and all the community collaboration that went into completing this project — the Kootenay Robusters met up at Christina Lake on Oct. 20.

Otter Louis and Kathy Hanson take groundbreaking literally and get busy with their pink shovels. Photo: Submitted

Otter Louis and Kathy Hanson take groundbreaking literally and get busy with their pink shovels. Photo: Submitted

Members gathered and broke bread to celebrate the end of a four and a half year quest to build a den for their dragon boat and team.

A small road allowance at the end of Lavalley Road, just east of the Christina Lake public beach, is the perfect location and site preparation is now underway.

For this dream project to come to fruition, the Robusters received significant help from businesses, government departments and individuals in the communities of Trail, Rossland, Castlegar, Christina Lake and Grand Forks.

“We wanted a celebration to honor the participation of so many supporters from across the region,” President Lorraine Bell-Lebedoff said in her group welcome.

President Lorraine Bell-Lebedoff welcomes those attending and gives a brief history of the project. Photo: Submitted

President Lorraine Bell-Lebedoff welcomes those attending and gives a brief history of the project. Photo: Submitted

Despite the wet weather those attending enjoyed hearing about the path that led to the start of this project and were also treated to a delicious picnic lunch.

When the structure is finished, the team will permanently mount signage to recognize those who have provided significant assistance to make this dragon boat den a reality.

As well, the team is grateful for the many supporters who buy the Robusters’ fundraising Kootenay Paradise calendars every year to help keep the paddling program operating.

The 2022 edition is already out in the usual outlets and the Robusters say it’s a reminder of the beautiful place we live and work.

Wet weather didn’t dampen spirits as the Robusters dove into their favorite activity - eating! Photo: Submitted

Wet weather didn’t dampen spirits as the Robusters dove into their favorite activity - eating! Photo: Submitted

Who are the Kootenay Robusters?

Kootenay Robusters is a non-profit organization for breast cancer survivors and associates to experience physical, emotional, spiritual and mental wellness at a level they find comfortable and personally challenging.

Through the paddling experience, their aim is to raise awareness of breast cancer and the uplifting truth that there is life after breast cancer.

The Kootenay Robusters began in early 2001, the brainchild of a Trail nurse and breast cancer survivor. After hearing about the ‘Abreast in A Boat’ teams, she and several other women whose lives had been touched by breast cancer decided to start a local team and so, with no dragon boat, no paddling experience, and the closest lake miles away, the Robusters team was formed.

Women from the Kootenay communities of Trail, Castlegar, Rossland, Christina Lake and Grand Forks came together, with the initial goal of competing in Vancouver’s dragon boat festival in June. Members included both breast cancer survivors and associate paddlers who joined to support the survivors.

The women embarked on a strength and fitness program, and after leasing a dragon boat from the coast, began paddling in late May on Christina Lake. With just one month’s training the team headed to Vancouver. In September the team raced in Kelowna, placing second in the Breast Cancer Challenge race.



newsroom@trailtimes.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Dragon Boats and breast cancer

The association between breast cancer and dragon boats goes back to 1996. At that time it was widely held that repetitive upper body movements led to lymphedema, an irreversible swelling of the arm and chest that is a common complication of breast cancer.

A Vancouver sports medicine physician, Dr. Don McKenzie decided to test this belief by conducting a medical study of 25 women, who began an exercise training program involving dragon boat paddling. The results of the study indicated that repetitive upper body exercise like paddling does not cause lymphedema, and the myth was laid to rest.

The first dragon boat team, ‘Abreast In A Boat’, has served as inspiration for teams not only in B.C., but around the world. What began as a study has grown into a network of women who are increasing awareness of breast cancer, exploring their limits, building strength and physical fitness, and providing each other with emotional support and camaraderie.

There are now more than 50 breast cancer survivor teams world-wide, competing at many Canadian and international dragon boat festivals while raising breast cancer awareness.

BC HealthCancerKootenays