Stefanie Hannah hopes her participation in Sunday's Run for the Cure event in Nanaimo will raise awareness for breast-cancer survivors and the general population of how important regular exercise is.
Hannah is a longtime member of the city's Angels Abreast dragon boat team.
She battled her own challenges with breast cancer more than a decade ago.
She said statistics indicate that regular exercise increases the survival rates of cancer patients, particularly in cases like hers in which she has had her lymph nodes removed that can sometimes lead to painful Lymphodema.
Hannah said Lymphodema causes fluid retention in the hands and legs and, in her case, the symptoms didn't even begin until more than four years after her treatments for her cancer.
She said dragon boating in Nanaimo and across the world has been adopted as a sport for breast cancer survivors because it has been determined that the exercise of the upper body among those who are recovering from the disease is beneficial to regaining their full health.
"Four years after my treatment for breast cancer, my fingers swelled up like sausages because the fluids in my arms weren't able to flow as easily after my lymph nodes were removed," Hannah said.
"I was shocked and terrified at the time. But I quickly discovered that exercise, especially upper-body exercise, is very important to help prevent this and I've been an active dragon boater ever since and now much of the team is participating in Sunday's Run for the Cure."
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and activities are held across the country to raise awareness and money to help deal with disease.
Last October, the Run for the Cure in Nanaimo raised almost $170,000 toward breast cancer research, adding to the more than $2 million the city has cumulatively raised for the cause in past years.
Hundreds of participants are expected to walk or run a fivekilometre or one-kilometre route at Beban Park on Sunday, capping off months of fundraising prior to the event day.
"I'm doing great now, but I think it's very important to get the word out about how beneficial exercise can be for everyone and not only cancer survivors," Hannah said.
For more information on the run, call 250-740-0588 or go to email@example.com RBarron@nanaimodailynews.com 250-729-4234
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