Rule Number One? HAVE FUN!

by #ameje18 caar delegate gabrielle kneipp

The sport of dragon boating brings people together in countries all around the world, including the Arabian Peninsula country of Qatar. Despite the extreme summer heat, residents of Doha pile into a boat to train each week against a backdrop of futuristic skyscrapers.

But it’s not about competition; for the Doha Wireless Warriors, dragon boating is about community building.

First coming together in 2014, the paddlers are cancer survivors and their supporters. The team was founded by Sandee Thompson who brought her passion for dragon boating with her from Canada after being re-diagnosed with breast cancer. Training sessions are often lead by Mohamed Eraqi, also a proud cancer survivor.

Dragon boating has been proven to help manage or prevent lymphedema, which is a swelling of the arms when lymph nodes are removed. This swelling can be very uncomfortable and the action of paddling helps to keep the lymph fluid moving. As a result, there are hundreds of breast cancer dragon boat teams all over the world, giving survivors the strength to keep on moving.

In Qatar, cancer survivors are joined in the boat each week by a diverse mix of Doha residents, and their training sessions have a friendly, community vibe. Even if exhausted after a tough day at work, the team members enjoy dragon boating as a way to unwind and be motivated and inspired by each other.

Produced as part of the #AMEJE18 study tour, with thanks to our partners: the Australian Government through the Council for Australian-Arab Relations (CAAR) of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; the Changing Lives Program; Qatar Airways; the University of Canberra; the University of Adelaide; and the Embassy of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in Canberra