The original reason I joined Wellness Warriors was actually due to the fact that I was unable to find a stable close enough to the city to continue my hobby of horseback riding. Wanting to do something that kept me active and got me outside I took a risk and went to an info session hosted by the Wellness Warriors after seeing a post on a Boston First Descents Facebook page. Having no clue what dragon boat racing was I figured it was worth a shot. That was in the summer of 2016. Fast forward to now and not only have I basically become obsessed with the sport, I joined a second team if that’s any indication, but my life as a whole has improved tremendously and has forever been changed for the better.
Now I realize saying that my whole life has changed is a large claim to make, however that is the truth. You see, I was first diagnosed with cancer when I was 14 years old, I then relapsed at the age of 16 and throughout did not have a very large support system. There were a few people my age that I saw every once in a while that were battling cancer. The one closest friend that I did have who also had cancer, passed away when we were both 19. That being said I went many years without any kind of community. Joining Wellness and immediately connecting with so many others who knew inherently what it was like to be a cancer survivor drastically changed how I viewed myself in the world. For so long I had felt alone, and now I will never feel that way again.
The Wellness team not only brought me a sense of community that I had been yearning for, it also enabled me to reconnect with my body in a way I really never thought would be possible. Going through cancer it is easy to start seeing your body as the enemy, as something that is attacking you. Viewed this way one has a tendency to disconnect mentally from one’s body. By engaging in dragon boating I learned how to see my body as something that was good, something that was strong. By reclaiming my body, I have become whole.
So you see Wellness Warriors is not just a team for me, Wellness is a family. This group of people have given me my life back and even though I may not be in Boston for a while, I know that all of them are in this boat of life with me, and for that I am eternally blessed.