Ladies involved with the Clonmel Cancer CARE Centre are in training to embark on an exciting new endeavour - dragon boat paddling.
The centre is set to welcome the arrival of a dragon boat by the end of March and a team of ambitious paddlers are ready to take up the sport and possibly represent Clonmel at national and international events in the future.
The exciting new dimension to the Clonmel CARE Centre extensive range of activities was announced at the 10th annual Cancer CARE dinner in Hotel Minella last Friday attended by guest speaker RTE presenter John Murray and up to five hundred people who supported the massive fundraiser.
One of those was breast surgeon Tino Castineira , a member of Clonmel Rowing club and one of the main movers behind the idea of introducing Clonmel to the concept of dragon boat paddling.
Dragon boat exercise is an international movement inspired by the research of Canadian sport medicine specialist Don McKensie who believes the activity benefits breast cancer survivors and improves womens post treatment quality of life.
There is already one dragon boat team up and running in Ireland and Clonmel is expected to be the second with ladies in Clonmel already in training (every Thursday evening at the Cancer Care Centre at 7pm) in anticipation of the arrival of the boat at the end of the month.
Guest speaker John Murray,whose late father Vivian hailed from Clonmel, said he was very impressed with the level of service provided by Cancer CARE in Clonmel having conducted a tour of their headquarters in Wellington Street prior to the event.
He paid tribute to the founders of the organisation Theresa Irwin and the late Muiris Dromey and said the Cancer CARE operation was valued greatly by the community who had supported the annual fundraising events organised by the group.
The guest speaker said that the centre provided an important meeting place and a social outlet for people who had a diagnosis of cancer which allowed them share their concerns and meet in a friendly and supportive environment.
John Murray said Clonmel was a place close to his heart and he had great childhood memories of the town and he was delighted that the town had such a crucial facility as the Cancer CARE centre providing invaluable services and support to so many people.
Paddy Derivan,Chairman of the trustees of Cancer CARE said they were thrilled with the attendance at the lunch which was their primary fundraiser held during the year.
â€œWe were founded eleven years ago and this is our tenth annual dinner and every year the support of the local community has been absolutely fantastic,â€ he said.
Tino Castineira said he was shocked by the findings of new research in Italy which had shown that in 25% of cases with a diagnosis of cancer led to a divorce and family split.
Because of this,he said, it was crucially important for families to have available to them the best support facilities possible to provide families with coping mechanisms that would help relationships survive.
â€œThese coping mechanisms are very important to people who have to cope with cancer and manage a family,â€ he said.
Tino said that the role of the cancer support centre in Clonmel was very important and he was looking forward to the arrival of the dragon boat by the end of the month.He encouraged women to join the initiative and said the physical exercise, friendship and social activity generated as a result of the project would be a positive addition to the Cancer CARE centre.
Tino said the dragon boat project was a community effort and he thanked Clonmel Rowing Club for allowing the boat to be stored in their premises when it arrives.
â€œWhen I put the idea to them , it was a unanimous yes,â€ he said.
Tino said he hoped the boat would be delivered to Clonmel by the end of March and women were already in training for the project.