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Pink Dragon Ladies Race Against Cancer

TAMPA, Fla. – Pushing through the water takes strength, endurance and power – something the Pink Dragon Ladies are all too familiar with.

“It’s interesting how we all come together, but what brings us together is not a fun thing,” said Tessie Young, coach of the ‘Pink Dragon Ladies.’

Young says the races are less about beating the others, and more about beating cancer.

“We race other teams from all over that are like us – breast cancer survivors. And we battle really hard on the water, but when we come off the water, it’s more of a big family and that’s what makes us unique over some of the other dragon boat teams, is the sisterhood that we share,” said Young.

There are 40 women on the team, each diagnosed with some type of cancer.

Young, herself, has beat it twice.

They’re not a team, she says. They’re a family.

“We support each other. We have ladies on the team who are currently battling. We have ladies that just finished treatment. We have ladies with no hair. We have them from all walks and we welcome them no matter what,” said Young.

Each stroke of the paddle propels them forward.

“Some ladies have physical limitations and I have to find out what that is and still coach them to be the best they can be for themself with those limitations,” said Young.

Physically, for sure, but more importantly mentally. 

“It’s a challenge, however it’s one that I enjoy because I like to see the lightbulbs light up in their face when they get it,” said Young.

Because that strength, power and endurance prove to these women just how resilient they are.

“My goal is to let them realize that there is life after cancer and you can be strong,” said Young.

Not just on the water, but also off of it.

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