Chances are you know someone with Multiple Sclerosis. It is not always obvious who has MS. There are many different layers to this chronic illness, as there are people who have it. Some of the symptoms include balance problems, impaired speech, failure with cognitive abilities, double vision, chronic depression, extreme fatigue and paralysis. The most difficult chasm for a person with MS is moving forward. It is all too easy to give up and let nature take its painful course.
Our Dragon Boat team started in 2007. Most of our paddlers have Multiple Sclerosis (MS). We are supplemented with treasured Support Paddlers who paddle and assist those with MS in and out of the boat. We have been blessed with an amazing coach who is very qualified in paddling and is personally affected by MS as a caregiver. He works with each of us individually to support our paddling skills within our physical abilities and takes great pride in our achievements.
We have surprised ourselves by winning several medals from races we have participated in. In 2008 we won the Gold medal in our Division at the Victoria Dragon Boat Festival. We were voted by our peers as “Team of the Year” in 2009. In 2010 we were extremely proud to paddle with the Navy Team in the Torch Relay for the Paralympics. We were recognized for our energetic and enthusiastic attitudes and our amazing improvement from year to year while bringing more awareness to Multiple Sclerosis.
Dragon Boating has become an important rehabilitation tool; one that we wish to continue. The benefits to our team members are obvious. People who needed a lot of help to just get in the boat are now doing so with less difficulty. Those that are in wheel chairs, are helped by our wonderful Support Paddlers. Dragon boating is not a cure for MS but it gives those who paddle a quality of life that diminishes all too quickly for those who do not have the benefit of paddling, by prolonging mobility, reducing balancing problems and battling chronic depression.
Many of our team members are on limited disability income and could not otherwise compete in the training and races. Please support our team in their efforts to bring awareness of what they are truly capable of doing while combating this debilitating illness. To help us get back in our boat we need the generosity of donors.