October 16, 2009
"When my oncologist explained how critical a consistent exercise program is to breast cancer survivors, his concluding remarks to me were, "Just keep moving!" ROW has added a very fun element to my exercise regime. The camaraderie, support and laughter with fellow breast cancer survivors who also want to "just keep moving" are a wonderful bonus of being a ROW member."
-- Kathleen Behner
Recovery on Water (ROW) Chicago, the collaboration between Sue Ann Glaser and Jenn Gibbons, began in the fall of 2007. Glaser, a breast cancer survivor, was in search of a crew of her own. Gibbons, a rowing coach at Ignatius Chicago Crew (ICC) was beginning to reach out to local survivors in hopes of creating a team for breast cancer survivors. Eventually, the two were introduced by a local Park District employee, and after many meetings about their mutual interest, goal and dream ... Recovery on Water Chicago was born.
An all-volunteer organization and fully funded by donations (members do not pay dues) Gibbons began hosting weekly practices, and student volunteers came to help lift boats and assist while receiving community service hours for their time at practice. The volunteer program has continued to be a mutually rewarding partnership; with returning student volunteers who continue to attend ROW practice long after their service hour requirements are fulfilled.
Most importantly, ROW has made a positive impact on the lives of its members, all breast cancer survivors. The women have found a group, a team and a sport they're proud of and want to share with family and friends. Throughout training, the ROW women become stronger as athletes and as a team. The experience also helps the women regain their confidence and the ability to get back to living their lives.
"Rowing has changed my life, not that cancer hasn't. Rowing has given me something back that cancer has taken away. Rowing has made me see that there are no limits on what I can do. The first time on the water I was apprehensive, but once I started and got the feel of it, it was such an unbelievable feeling of living. What a rush. I was not wondering when I was going to die but pushing farther than I have ever gone. I had a permanent smile on my face for over 3 days after my fist row; I would walk past the mirror and see the smile of accomplishment. I can do it and hopefully get better and stronger, which is truly an accomplishment after cancer treatment. Thank you for ROW and bringing the power of survivorship together."
-- Nellina Bartucci
Additional Row Teams for Breast Cancer Survivors and Support Teams:
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