Let me first start by saying… Hi. My name is Rhonda…and I am a newbie. I am a newbie to Wellness Warriors… I am a newbie to any kind of sport let alone a water sport. AND a newbie to Boston.


In fact, it was just over 2 years ago that my husband Tim received the great job offer that brought us here.


I knew that moving would mean finding all new doctors…and that would take time…SO I decided that we should have all of our medical check ins and check ups before leaving NY. Among those many appointments was my “routine” mammogram.


Well… long story short… the day before the movers were to arrive …I received a call telling me that I had breast cancer and that I should plan on seeing an Oncologist as soon as we moved. So much for “routine”.


My first year in Boston was all about treatment…There was fear and uncertainty in everything that I was going through…But I made a commitment to myself to stay as upbeat and positive as I could….under the circumstances.


Our extraordinary 2019 BDBF newbies!
Kevin (assistant coach), Sylvia, Dora, Rhonda, Chitra (semi newbie), and Jen

And I often reflected on something that my grandmother used say when she needed to put a positive spin on what ever challenge SHE was dealing with at the time….”Every day above ground is a good one”. Indeed.


Once I’d finished treatment and got over the shock of what had just happened…I was finally ready to get my life back…which also meant meeting people in Boston other than my care team. It was during that time that I found Wellness Warriors.


My first encounter with this group was rather intimidating! Imagine…in the middle of winter…attending a potluck dinner at a the home of someone you do not know…packed full of dozens of people that you do not know…all talking about a sport that you do not know…and on top of that…there were ergs! Until that night, I didn’t even know what an erg was! [An erg is an indoor rowing machine. We have paddle adapters that allow us to paddle on the erg. Great fun!]


But you all know this group! Suffice it to say, before long…my feeling of awkwardness disappeared ABOUT as quickly as the wine at the beverage table did. Seriously…What was not to love? The food was absolutely delicious and Every one there was beyond friendly and welcoming AND before the night was over…….I found myself paddling my heart out… and trust me that’s how it felt…on one of those dastardly ERGs!


By the time I left evening I knew that I had happened upon something remarkable and truly special.


In the months leading up to paddling season …we ice skated and pilated and biked and bowled and paddle camped.


Just finished racing in Springfield!

And by the time paddling season actually began…I *almost* didn’t feel like a newbie at all… well except for that part about the water and well…actually paddling.


Ahhhh…but once on the water…I was hooked. As they say…the rest is history.


I was simply looking for an opportunity to get out and be more active and to maybe improve my fitness …but I found so much more.


I found compassion and camaraderie;
I found kinship and friendship…and something that had been missing for well over a year… fun.
I found Wellness through the healing power of water


I am honored to be a member of this amazing team and I am grateful for the support our generous sponsors.


And thanks to Wellness Warriors…these days…when I reflect on my grandmother’s wise words…I would only add one small thing.


Every day above ground is a good one…but every day spent paddling on the water with this team…is an even better one.


[presentation given at our 2019 Friendship Night]