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Dragon Dream Team Continues to Send Message of Hope a Year Later
Date:8/25/2008

AKRON, Ohio, Aug. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- A group of Northeast Ohio breast cancer survivors continue to send a message of hope and support for women fighting the disease by participating in the sport of Dragon Boat racing. The sport, which is similar to rowing or canoeing, involves a team of 22 paddlers racing in 40-foot-long hulls decorated to look like dragons.

Participation in the team offers women living with breast cancer an opportunity to develop their support system. Equally important, team members find the physical exertion a welcome diversion from the emotional strain of living with breast cancer.

"The bonds we've developed with each other are indescribable," said Karen Koch, a member of the Dragon Dream Team. "The first time I set foot on our Dragon Boat, there was an instant sense of belonging and understanding. Everyone on the team is, literally and figuratively, in the same boat."

After its first year, the Dragon Dream Team has continued to grow in popularity and is now 90 women strong. The team has participated in six competitions over the last year, traveling as far as Windsor, Canada to race with thousands of other breast cancer survivors from around the world.

"Competing in Dragon Boat racing sends an important message to our friends and families, as well as the community at large," said Susan Balmert, a member of the team. "We truly exemplify that there is life after breast cancer."

The team practices three times a week in two-hour increments on the Portage Lakes. At each competition, the team races against four to five other Dragon Boat teams at 300-500 length distances.

Dr. Douglas Wagner, M.D., a physician practicing with Akron Plastic Surgeons and Founding Sponsor of the Dragon Dream Team said, "I see many women that come through my door who feel defeated by breast cancer. I believe that Dragon Boat racing empowers these women and allows them to get back some semblance of control in their lives."


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SOURCE Akron Plastic Surgeons, Inc.
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