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Pagaie Rosa: sport is therapy

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Mariagrazia Punzo is the President of the Association Pagaie Rosa Dragon Boat ONLUS of Castel Gandolfo. She says how important it is for a woman who underwent breast cancer surgery, to paddle and do sports in order to go back to a new normality.

Doctors claimed years ago that women who had breast surgeries weren’t supposed to do any kind of effort to avoid any lymphoedema occurrence. This idea has been overturned by a Canadian Doctor, who identified in Dragon Boat paddle a useful therapy for the women who underwent breast surgery. 

The movement required to drive forward a boat is a loading and unloading cycle that promotes the paddlers who are on the same boat: not only metaphorically but also physically. A sisterhood develops among these women, even stronger than the struggle of therapy. The Canadian Doctor decided that it was time for the paddlers to compete. These ladies began to travel and landed in 2002 in Italy for the Dragon Boat World Championship in Rome where they met Orlanda Capelli, drummer for the Italian team but also a woman who underwent breast cancer surgery. She seized this important message of bravery and decided to replicate the idea in Italy too. Soon the first Dragon Boat Italian Team was born: the Pink Butterfly and the Pagaie Rosa Association.

The experience of women in this association, put the spotlight on the various benefits of sport. There is a special care to the clinical picture of every paddler of the team, because some of them have metastasis or are in recurrence. Even if she takes the boat with her head full of not positive thoughts, every paddler knows that she will reach the shore thanks to her teammates. Moreover, the paddle movement is very natural and mind relaxing. This way, after a while outdoors dealing with water, the experience becomes very close to meditation.

Today, sport activity is suggested by doctors, but one of the association’s goals is to have it recognized as a real therapy. It should be suggested as a specific medicine and women should always be addressed to what is better for them. The Pagaie Rosa’ job also consists in cooperation with doctors to do prevention and help with consultancy.

The association is also committed to other social struggles toward women’s welfare, like the establishment of Metastatic Cancer National Day. Because women undervalue their health and delay medical examinations. This is what makes prevention so important.

Moreover, the Dragon Boat sport can be done at any age.The members of a team always paddle together, according to their own ability.

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