In 2001 a small group of breast cancer survivors in the Princeton area were introduced to the idea a dragon boating by Jeanie Haas, the purpose of exploring dragon boating was to rehabilitate their health after treatment for breast cancer and for the pure pleasure of exhilarating exercise.
The seed was planted, and a team was formed. In 2001 there were five Breast Cancer survivor teams in the USA, ours was called the Princeton Dragoneers. In 2002 they incorporated, changing their name to Princeton Women’s Breast Cancer Survivor Dragon Boat Racing Team, Baru Saul was elected President. They discovered a coach, Ellen Law, who later arranged for a donation of a dragon boat from Dr Howard Chen, Intercultural Exchange Assoc. from California.
In 2006 by special arrangement with Mercer County Park Dept the team held regular practices on Mercer Lake. To support BCRC who paid for their coaching, the team began to sponsor Paddle For Pink Dragon Boat Festival in 2007 which has grown to the première event that attracts 50 teams each summer.
In 2014 the team name was officially changed to Machestic Dragons, Breast Cancer Survivor Dragon Boat Team, which now has a vigorous membership of survivors and supporters.
Our Machestic Team owes a debt of gratitude to Coach Ellen Law for many years of coaching , organizing our first dragon boat festival, maintaining our websites during that time, and for connecting the Machestic’s with Dr. Chen. Other past presidents of the organization are Terry Coleman, and Carol Watchler.
Hundreds of supporters and survivors have donated their time and talent to The Machestic Dragons organization, we salute all our volunteers that have brought us forward, our contributors, and our volunteer Board of Directors, other unpaid staff that is numerable and keeps us afloat.
- To raise awareness of breast cancer and the benefits of dragon boat paddling
- To show and mentor others who are weakened by the struggle with breast cancer that there is life after this disease
- To encourage and empower ourselves and others to face our dragons with an indomitable spirit and
- To look beyond today to a future filled with hope and promise
In the boat we…
- Paddle together
- Support each other
- Learn from one another
- Laugh together
- Enjoy competition
- Overcome fear
- Encourage others
- Make true friends
- Take pride in our accomplishments
- Break the silence of cancer
We also embrace an attitude about what cancer CANNOT do…
- Invade the soul,
- Suppress memories,
- Kill friendship,
- Steal eternal life,
- Destroy peace,
- Conquer the spirit,
- Shatter hope,
- Cripple love,
- Corrode faith,
- Silence courage –
UNLESS we let it!
The Machestic Dragons has established relationships within the community in an effort to fulfill its mission. From the beginning, the Princeton YWCA Breast Cancer Resource Center (BCRC) encouraged the dragon boat team and helped to connect their breast cancer survivors with our activity. Both the Machestic Dragons and BCRC discovered new opportunities to build and support our memberships. More recently, the Machestic Dragons formed a partnership with the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey (RCINJ) where, in addition to diagnosis and treatment, there is a focus on research and trials for breast cancer cures. Both BCRC and RCINJ have received donations from the proceeds of the Paddle for Pink.
The Machestic Dragons has also reached out to the medical community – area doctors, therapists, and others who treat breast cancer patients/survivors; have formed an Advisory Board of people from various walks of life interested in helping us grow and fulfill the Machestics’ mission. The Machestic Dragons have also established relationships with such corporations as Sanofi USA, Church & Dwight, ETS, and AT&T, along with the United Strength Academy.