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  • Writer's pictureMyrna Driedger

Chemo Savvy Dragon Boats

Published in the Canstar Metro and Headliner

By Myrna Driedger, MLA for Roblin

Years ago, I had two breast cancer scares. Luckily, for me, it was just that, a scare but I will always remember that traumatic fear while I waited for my results. I am so grateful to all of the incredible healthcare workers in Manitoba who helped guide me through the process to check in on my health. It is incredibly important for all of us to check in with our doctors and health care practitioners regularly.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among Canadian women (excluding non-melanoma skin cancers). While breast cancer in men is rarer, it can still occur.

Chemo Savvy is an amazing dragon boat team. Its members are made up of breast cancer survivors. And you don’t need experience in dragon boat racing to join their team, some members are new to the sport entirely. Team members spend three months participating in indoor training exercises before trying the real thing on the Red River. After practicing hard, Chemo Savvy participates in races.

For those of you who have seen this team in action, you might be interested to know about the unique and colourful paddles used to push the dragon boat toward victory. Chemo Savvy holds an annual paddle-painting workshop for its team members. What a great way for members to express their style and uniqueness through art!

This amazing group is meant to offer fun, exciting experiences to people undergoing a similar challenge. Surviving breast cancer is a feat in itself. But undergoing the challenges of cancer can have an enormous impact on a person. Joining a team like Chemo Savvy, participants get the opportunity to exercise, have fun, laugh, and bond with others who have similar experiences.

This impressive team also holds fundraisers in the community, walks, interviews with the media, speaking with classrooms, public information displays, golf tournaments, fashion shows, parades and so much more. One special fundraiser is their Dragon Wing Begonias. As an avid gardener myself, I absolutely love begonias and the dragon wing begonia- Chemo Savvy’s signature flower is stunning. These gorgeous begonias are available throughout the month of May and proceeds go to making sure that the fees for participants on the Chemo Savvy team stay affordable.

The Chemo Savvy dragon boat team will be celebrating their 25th anniversary. Many great teams make up the dragon boat races here in Manitoba, but it is Chemo Savvy that holds a special place in my heart for the great work that they do to support breast cancer survivors. To celebrate this anniversary, I’ve arranged for the tower at the top of the legislature to be lit up pink in honour of breast cancer survivors.

Please check out for more information on this amazing organization.


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