All About the Charity, Paddlers for Life Windermere.
Paddlers for Life Windermere is a dragon boat team of cancer survivors and their supporters. Many team members are breast cancer survivors, reflecting the origins of the team within the breast cancer survivor (BCS) dragon boat paddling international activity. However, the team welcomes members who have been diagnosed and treated for any cancer as well as family members and friends who can be supporter members.
We are a registered charity number 1121539. We have a small membership fee but our dragon boating is financed by grant support, generous legacies and donations as well as our own fundraising activities. The money is used to provide all the necessary basic equipment of dragon boats, paddles and buoyancy aids and the storage of the boats at Low Wood Bay.
Dragon boats are twelve metre long vessels with a dragon head at the front and a dragon boat tail at the back as well as a drum with a seat for the drummer. They are paddled by a team of up to 18 paddlers with a drummer who helps the paddlers keep in time with a drum beat following the pace of the stroke pair, the two paddlers at the front of the boat who set the paddling rhythm. The boat also has a helm or steersperson who stands at the back of the boat using a large steering oar to control the direction of the boat. The helm gives instructions to the team and is responsible for the safety of the paddlers and boat.
Paddling the dragon boat is especially helpful to people who have had lymph nodes removed from under the arm in connection with their cancer surgery as it helps prevent lymphoedema, a condition where the arm swells with fluid which cannot drain away through the lymphatic system. This is a painful and restrictive condition which can be worsened if a cellulitis infection takes hold.
Paddling has many other physical, emotional and psychological benefits arising from the being able to exercise within the camaraderie of a team in the great outdoors. Our beautiful paddling location on Windermere in the Lake District, a world heritage location, is an uplifting venue. Why we paddle.