GOOD GUY: Breast cancer survivor's recovery has led to a life with dragon boats

DEDICATED: Dragons Abreast co-ordinator Pearl Butcher was among the first group of people to start dragon boating in Orange. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 0919jkdragon3
DEDICATED: Dragons Abreast co-ordinator Pearl Butcher was among the first group of people to start dragon boating in Orange. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 0919jkdragon3

Dragon boating has become the sport of choice for breast cancer survivors.

Orange coach, official and club co-ordinator Pearl Butcher said it was an ideal activity to build upper body strength.

Mrs Butcher was one of a handful of survivors who started dragon boating activities in Orange 10 years ago.

She said the sport involved men and women of all ages, regardless of whether they had been a breast cancer survivor.

“We have members ranging from 13-79, men and women,” she said.

Mrs Butcher has plunged headfirst into the activity over the years.

Apart from being a past president of the Dragons Abreast club she has also achieved high coaching and administrator levels in sport that she has contested around Australia and overseas.

She recently returned from competing in Hawaii with other club members from Orange.

“I am a level three official, I’m the only one in the Western region.

And she said she was one of two level two approved coaches in the region.

Mrs Butcher  said the link with breast cancer goes back to the 1990s.

“Medical opinion then was that people who had upper body surgery shouldn’t do any upper body physical movement.”

However, she said Canadian sports medicine expert Dr Don McKenzie’s research disproved the theory and encouraged survivors to do dragon boating.

“It was about proving that exercise is good for the upper body for all people.”

Dragons Abreast is having two come-and-try days for people keen to discover the activity.

They are on Sunday September 30 at 9am and Sunday November 12 from 2pm.

“We will provide all the equipment,” she said.

People should wear covered shoes as thongs and bare feet are not allowed in a dragon boat.

The Western Region regatta is also on Lake Canobolas on Sunday, November 5.

Mrs Butcher said they were encouraging corporate, community and high school team entries.