Ed Martin Auto Group
Ed Martin Auto Group

Indy SurviveOars Dragon Boat Racing Team for Breast Cancer Survivors

“To provide breast cancer survivors a strong message of hope, inspiration and encouragement by creating a floating support group”

The Ed Martin Automotive Group was a major sponsor in launching this grassroots effort for breast cancer survivors. It is the very first dragon boat in Indiana and the very first breast cancer group to improve their lives through paddling this boat in Indiana.

Who are the Indy SurviveOars?

Indy SurviveOars is a 501 c 3 tax exempt non-profit organization that is run by volunteers.

We are a group of dedicated breast cancer survivors and others committed to the cause of breast cancer who have introduced dragon boat racing to Indiana. Our name, Indy SurviveOars reflects our hometown connection, our breast cancer survivorship and our homage to the steer oarsperson who guides the dragon boat on its course. The breast cancer survivors train to paddle together, support each other, learn from one another and overcome fear.

What is the purpose of Indy SurviveOars?

Our mission is to help provide breast cancer survivors with a strong message of hope, inspiration and encouragement. This mission is manifested through the development of our own dragon boat team, which is estimated to be the 50th breast cancer team to launch in the U.S.

Why dragon boat racing?

Don McKenzie, MD, a sports medicine physician at the University of British Columbia, launched Abreast in a Boat in 1996 to test the myth that repetitive upper body exercise in women treated for breast cancer encourages lymphedema. He believed that following a special exercise and training program would not increase the risk, but would actually improve quality of life. Dr. McKenzie’s theory proved correct. Since ‘1996, hundreds of breast cancer survivors across the world have formed dragon boat teams and are paddling and racing regularly, promoting good health and fun. An emerging body of research suggests physical activity not only has a positive effect on quality of life following a diagnosis of cancer, but it may also improve survival.

What is dragon boat racing?

Dragon boat racing began more than 2,000 years ago in China and eventually made its way to North America in the 1980s. Now considered the fastest growing team water sport in the world, it features sleek, slender boats decorated with dragon heads and propelled by 20 paddlers working in unison. The drummer beats out the pace, while a steer oarsperson guides the dragon boat on its course. The lndy SurviveOars dragon boat is 50 feet in length and carries several distinctions. The Indiana boat is the first pink dragon boat that long-time boat manufacturer, Swift Dragon Boats of China, has ever made. Our boat’s head and tail are the first in the world to be custom-designed and painted pink.

How can I participate?

All breast cancer survivors are welcome year round! You do not need to be an “athlete” to participate. The boat is in the water from April until October each year. We attend 3 – 4 races per summer outside of the Indianapolis area. You may choose just to come out and paddle the boat and not race. Practice is two evenings a week and Saturday morning during the season. In the off-season we attend Rowbics classes and paddle on the side of the indoor pool at Lawrence North High School. We also have social get-togethers. You do not need to be a breast cancer survivor to participate. Volunteers are needed for team support, special events, fund raising and other organizational activities.

How can I help?

Volunteers, donations and sponsorships are all needed to help lndy SurviveOars grow. For more information on how you can get involved, visit our Web site at or e-mail your questions to

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