The Villages - October 2016 - 22
A few years later, in 2011, she joined the Dragon Sisters.
After Nock had reconstruction surgery, she got a rose
She arrived at practice with a compression sleeve over her
tattoo that she likes to show the sisters.
arm in fear of developing lymphedema post-surgery.
"That's part of our initiation for new people," Skopaz
She stopped wearing the sleeve after about a year on the
said, laughing. "When they're done racing, they get a
team - and she never needed to put it on again.
(breast) flash by Sue."
"(Dragon boating) helped me because it gave me peace
The group bonds with plenty of breast cancer survivor
of mind that I was exercising, which I needed to do, and it
teams when they compete around the state and even
just made me feel confident," Henry said.
as the first women's team to represent The Villages
Sandy Kravet, a 28-year survivor,
internationally. There's no shortage
reached out to another woman
of creativity in team names, from the
" T h e r e' s a l oT
who came to practice shortly after
Mammoglams in Jacksonville to the
of f ol k s o u T T h e r e
treatment for breast cancer.
Thorough-Breasts in Kentucky.
w ho a r e g oi n g
"It's been very rewarding," Kravet
There's no shortage of breast
T h ro u g h i T, s o w e
said. "It gives them encouragement."
cancer teams, either. Since the mid
a l l n e e d To su p p orT
Kravet initially doubted she had the
1990s, they've made up one of the
upper body strength to be on the team.
fastest growing dragon boat team
o u r T ho u g h T s
But she proved herself capable.
Skopaz said it's common for women
Perhaps it's influenced by the
- Karen Dempsey
to join the Dragon Sisters with little to
change in doctor advice.
no athletic experience.
Medical recommendations used to
"Many of these ladies, we all come from all around
be to avoid exercise after being treated for breast cancer
the country, different walks of life, business women,
for fear of developing lymphedema (when lymph vessels
homemakers," Skopaz said. "When we were younger,
retain fluid and cause arm tissue to swell).
before Title IX, many of these ladies had never been on a
Now, there's strong evidence that breast cancer
team before. This is their time."
patients can safely participate in resistance exercise
Not only have members gained physical strength.
without increasing their risk of lymphedema, according
Skopaz has noticed an uptick in confidence and self esteem
to the National Institutes of Health. Some research even
as the sisters have learned to work together and enjoy a
found that exercise may help reduce flare-ups.
personal sense of accomplishment.
Many Dragon Sisters members refer to these findings
Dotty Sasmor, an 11-year breast cancer survivor,
when they encourage breast cancer survivors to join them.
distinguishes herself as one of the oldest Dragon Sisters at 74.
A year after moving to The Villages, Judy "Hank" Henry
"I love this team," Sasmor said. "I almost quit three
was diagnosed and treated for breast cancer.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Villages - October 2016
The Villages - October 2016 - Cover1
The Villages - October 2016 - Contents
The Villages - October 2016 - 1
The Villages - October 2016 - 2
The Villages - October 2016 - 3
The Villages - October 2016 - 4
The Villages - October 2016 - 5
The Villages - October 2016 - 6
The Villages - October 2016 - 7
The Villages - October 2016 - 8
The Villages - October 2016 - 9
The Villages - October 2016 - 10
The Villages - October 2016 - 11
The Villages - October 2016 - 12
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The Villages - October 2016 - 15
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The Villages - October 2016 - 18
The Villages - October 2016 - 19
The Villages - October 2016 - 20
The Villages - October 2016 - 21
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The Villages - October 2016 - 26
The Villages - October 2016 - 27
The Villages - October 2016 - 28
The Villages - October 2016 - 29
The Villages - October 2016 - 30
The Villages - October 2016 - 31
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The Villages - October 2016 - 35
The Villages - October 2016 - 36
The Villages - October 2016 - 37
The Villages - October 2016 - 38
The Villages - October 2016 - 39
The Villages - October 2016 - 40
The Villages - October 2016 - 41
The Villages - October 2016 - 42
The Villages - October 2016 - 43
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The Villages - October 2016 - Cover4