VIDEO: Cork Dragons paddle to battle breast cancer

Have you heard strange sounds coming from the River Lee? Don’t panic it’s only the Dragons!

The Cork Dragons are doing some serious training on the river, hoping to go for gold at this year’s Dublin Dragon Boat Regatta on September 12/13.

The team is made up of women and men, who have been diagnosed with, or are in recovery from breast cancer. Having come second in their category in 2014, they are hoping to go one better this year.

Cork Dragons was set up in 2012 by the HSE, Prince Clinic, Cork ARC Cancer Support House and MeithealMara. They are one of several breast cancer survivor dragon boating clubs around the country, with clubs in Waterford, Mayo, Belfast, Clonmel and Dublin.

Research from Canada and Ireland, has shown that the paddling action required for dragon boating has a beneficial effect on lymphoedema.

Lymphoedema, or arm swelling, can occur after breast cancer surgery, where the lymph nodes are removed.

Suzanne Denieffe, Head of Department of Nursing in WIT, has carried out research on dragon boating breast cancer survivors around the country with positive results.

‘The research shows that dragon boating is good for these breast cancer survivors. Paddling reduces arm stiffness and swelling, reduces tiredness levels and increases general wellbeing’, Ms Denieffe said.

The Dragons train twice weekly on the Lee and the club is also open to survivors of other types of cancer, friends and family.

In addition to the exercise benefits, the club provides a supportive environment for cancer survivors.

Helen McAuley, Captain of Cork Dragons, says joining a group like the Dragons is about having fun and showing that there is life after a diagnosis.

‘It’s not all about the racing, it’s a chance to get out on the water, forget your troubles, and have a coffee and chat with people who have had the same experience.’

So, if you see some Dragons on the river, make sure to give them a roar!

You can find the Cork Dragons on Facebook.


Lacemakers in Limerick want to preserve their unique craft for future generations and hope to gain UNESCO heritage status, writes Ellie O’Byrne.Made in Munster: Lace-making a labour of love rather than laborious industry

More From The Irish Examiner