Breast Cancer Survivors Are All in the Same Boat
Against the Wind is a unique dragon boat rowing crew: Every woman on board is a breast cancer survivor. Founded in 1991, ATW is the first crew in Philadelphia completely composed of breast cancer survivors. They are also part of the larger Philadelphia Flying Phoenix Dragon Boat team, which consists of about 70 members.
When the women row for the PFP team, they wear red or orange (the team’s colors) hats and carry matching paddles. When they race under the ATW flag, the entire crew dons pink to raise breast cancer awareness. Every time they compete, they tell their stories.
Donna Freyman is a 57-year-old crew member who joined in 2012. She found a lump in her chest and it was removed three weeks later. After that, she went through chemotherapy and radiation, It was during that time that she decided she wanted to become active. Her early diagnosis left her with a good prognosis.
“Because fatigue is the No. 1 symptom of radiation, I decided to do something that would get me up,” Freyman told the Jewish Exponent.
Freyman credits her teammates for giving her the courage to conquer her fears, both about cancer and rowing. She even found that she had more energy after she beat her disease than before she got sick.