The Wellness Warriors are a paddling support group of cancer survivors, patients and caregivers. From May through August, its members — men and women of all ages and walks of life — come together weekly to paddle traditional Chinese dragon boats on the scenic Charles River between Boston and Cambridge.
Setting aside their anxieties and problems during these vigorous 90-minute paddling sessions, the members are transformed into a strong and mutually empowered dragon boat team. “They become like family,” says their coach, architect Peter Lew, who is also the race president of Boston’s annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival.
Now a nonprofit organization with more than 50 members, the Warriors savor the views of spectacular sunsets and the Boston skyline as they paddle in unison. They also enjoy the friendships they develop over seasons and years.
Its president, Sandra Tise, had no paddling experience when she joined in 2008, after being diagnosed with breast cancer. “During my active treatment, it was a time to forget how sick I really was,” said Sandra. “You just feel stronger. You feel alive.”