Team of breast cancer survivors takes on international dragon boat race

The women will face off against more than 300 teams from around the world.

Justin Udo
June 28, 2018 - 9:38 am
Against the Wind, dragon boat team

Justin Udo/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A group of 21 local women with the common bond of overcoming breast cancer will compete in an international dragon boat race next week.

The team, Against the Wind, will row in the International Paddlers Commission Dragon Boat Festival in Florence, Italy.

A dragon boat is a traditional Chinese paddled long boat. The boats are decorated with the heads and tails of Chinese dragons. Philadelphia hosts an international dragon boat festival every fall.

"We're women, we're from the region, and we've survived breast cancer. And we've come together as a team of strong people," said Lynn Marks, who finished her breast cancer treatment in 1999.

She said members of the team, who range in age from 30 to 80, have helped each other win, in and out of the water.

"It also has a camaraderie, which is incredibly special," she added. "It really has been transformative to many of us."

During the international competition, the women from Against the Wind will face off against more than 300 other teams from around the world.

Marks said the benefits to dragon boat racing have helped them all in more ways than one.

"It's a way to do something physical, social, mental," she said. "It's a really good way to be good to our bodies."