Fighting cancer back, the Indy SurviveOars dragon boat team held a fundraiser May 2 at Title Boxing Club. With a goal to raise money to buy a new boat, survivors, friends and family came out to support the team while having fun.
“My favorite moment from the fundraiser was my mom coming out and boxing with me, which was fabulous,” said president Yopi Havlik. “There were some people there without a direct connection to us, that to me was just really special for them to come out and support us. All of the trainers were there as well. It was great to see the community come together.”
Indy SurviveOars, a non-profit organization, is comprised of breast cancer survivors. Rowers paddle the 50 foot long boats, led by a steer and a drummer who keeps the pace. The Indy SurviveOars dragon boat is custom made and painted pink. The team travels outside of Indiana during the summer, going as far as Florida to race.
“My favorite part about rowing is just being able to be on the water with a group of women who understand what you’ve been through to get there, but none of that matters,” said Havlik. “You’re just paddling and you are equal there. You are in a boatful of people who have so much in common with yet are so different. It’s the most peaceful happy place to be. You can just focus on working together and being strong.”
Indy SurviveOars welcomes breast cancer survivors year round, regardless of athletic ability or experience. The team practices twice in the afternoons during the week and on Saturday mornings during the season from April to October. You do not need to be a survivor to participate; volunteers are also needed for support.
“I hope that the team continues to be able to reach out to the breast cancer community and find those people that need us for support,” said Havlik.
Havlik also wanted to give a special thanks to Elizabeth Anderson from Indy SurviveOars and Chris Jordan from Title Boxing. For more information on how you can get involved, visit www.lndySurviveOars.org.