Juanita Chapman

Juanita ChapmanI like to say I am a three-time survivor. The first time, I survived when my husband of 27 years passed away from a ruptured brain aneurysm. Then, I was diagnosed with breast cancer, just three years after my husband passed away. And finally, four years later, my cancer returned - one year after I remarried. My new husband was living the “in sickness and health” vows every day. These were traumatic, life-changing experiences but with faith and the love of friends and family, we all survived.

Soon after my first diagnosis, I discovered and joined a local, all breast cancer survivor Dragon Boat Team. Dr. McKenzie, an exercise physiologist from British Columbia, started Dragon Boat teams in 1996 to prove women CAN do upper body exercises post cancer surgery. There are now 166 Breast Cancer Survivor Dragon Boat teams on five continents! The mission is to take care of each other, to stay fit, support each other and know that life continues after cancer. We are living proof! Every four years, the International Breast Cancer Paddling Commission hosts a world championship festival! In 2018, our local Dragon Boat Dream Team traveled to Italy to participate and we were the top United States team…3rd IN THE WORLD! Being on this team has helped me gain my strength back and has given me hope as I meet new teammates who are 20+ year survivors!  I am starting my 12th year on the team and celebrating being an eight-year survivor!