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Sandy Mitchell

I love this club!

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Patrice Sanchez

I was working out at the gym one day and my gym coach was saying that she was now coaching the dragon boat team, here in Morro Bay. I knew that it was a cancer survivor team so I thought I would bring my girlfriend, Jacqueline, out on the boat (Jacqueline is a breast cancer survivor). Although I am a cancer survivor myself, I free much more passionate about others who had gone through more difficult journey’s, which includes my younger sister who died from breast cancer at age 48.

My intention was to take Jacqueline out and introduce her to dragon boating but not continue myself. Once I got out on the boat, however, my heart soared! I immediately knew that it was something I wanted to do from now on. Since that time, about 5 years ago, I have competed all over the country and internationally in Vancouver, BC and Szeged, Hungary.

I love dragon boat!!!

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Jacueline whitesides

About 16 years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer in my left breast.  It was a devastating diagnosis.  It was frightening and what made it worse was looking at my children’s eyes and seeing how this was affecting them. 

I was lucky, my cancer was found very early and I had lots of options.  I also had my son Travis, daughter Tiffany, my many friends and family members helping me through all of it.  It is so important to have all these people help you with the doctors, the appointments, the hospital and the confusion!  I learned always have someone with me because in my state of mind I could not remember anything and I needed so much help. I did not know about Central Coast Survivors at the time.

 Around 2015, my very great friend Patrice took me to a Saturday Dragon Boat paddle.  There were mostly women there and they were friendly and helpful.  I managed to listen to the instructions and do an hour of paddling!  Yes I was sore using all those muscles!  We started going every Saturday morning, improving and not so sore anymore.  I even added some Monday morning paddles.

 

Unfortunately the most horrible event in my life happened January 6, 2017, my son Travis passed away.  I was catatonic for months and months, barely able to get up out of bed and only doing the minimum each day.  I quit paddling.   I received a beautiful card from the SurviveOARS and a couple of these acquaintances kept in touch.  Perhaps a year later Coach Tara and Patrice arranged for me, my daughter and sister-in-law to come to Morro Bay for a paddle in honor of Travis.  It was beautiful.  We paddled to the Rock, we talked about Travis and then we all put long stemmed peach roses in the bay.  I was so moved by the support and love from this group of people! 

 It took several starts and stops but I eventually started to paddle again. I am so grateful for everyone’s support.