“You’re very humbled when you get a diagnosis like that. When you start to do research, and studies on it, you know what the statistics are.”
According to the , one in eight women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime.
“I was diagnosed with breast cancer in december 2014. Personally, in my breast cancer journey, I am 7 years out,” says Mary Ridley.
“I was diagnosed in june of 2015 with breast cancer. Now I’m just on the maintenance stage,” says Jennifer Lockbaum.
“I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016. In January of 2016. It’s funny how women remember the date, they probably remember the actual day,” says Tara Hoffmann.
Mary, Jennifer, and Tara are all women who have faced a battle in their life they never knew was coming.
Hoffmann shares, “Being with so many other women that have also experienced breast cancer. The stress that it brings and the fears that follow. That fear of recurrence is, it’s kind of shared by all of us.”
And they are 3 out of 33 women, this year, who are part of the on Lake Leelanau–
An annual summer retreat that brings together women from *across the country, that share something in common, no matter the stage in their journey.
“Our goals here at camp is to provide a community of strength, vulnerability, and support for those women. And give them that time away from home where they can be with one another, and focusing on something other than their diagnosis, their treatment, or the ongoing after effects of breast cancer treatment,” says Hoffmann.
Tara Hoffmann is ‘s Program Manager, and knows herself, how much exercise can impact breast cancer.
Hoffmann explains, “Exercise after breast cancer is really the silver bullet. It’s the last part of the cancer prescription that is often overlooked.
Regular exercise can cut your risk of your initial diagnosis, but even after you’ve been diagnosed with cancer and you’re going through treatment, exercise is going to help you deal with the effects of treatment.”
This camp is its own kind of treatment to heal the body, build up strength and endurance.
She continues to say, “It’s also just kind of magical and special. There’s something about it that is tremendously harmonious. You’re in connection with the water and you’re in connection with your teammates.”
They say rowing can also help heal the mind and create life lasting bonds.
Lockbaum shares, “I couldn’t get here fast enough. I fell in love with the sport and then I met the women- and that’s what changed everything. Really great women. You just realize it out of something so horrible, came something so amazing.”
Forming a sisterhood, Mary and Jennifer are amongst the many women that have gained a different kind of perspective–
“It turned the diagnosis into like, something good can still happen here. This team aspect, of meeting people that you probably would’ve never met,” says Ridley.
Lockbaum says, “You wanna hug the girl in front of you and give a high five to the girl behind you. When you get all eight of you rowing in unison, and that boat just glides, oh my god. I wish you could feel my goosebumps because that’s what every rower wants.”
And there’s a reason why it’s called power-10
Hoffmann explains, “Ten intentional strokes that are strong, with extra effort, that are intended to pick the whole boat up and pull it forward.
Calling that, and achieving moving through those 10 strokes, is an unspoken commitment to your coach, to your boat, to the teammates around you, and to yourself.”
It’s the commitment to perseverance that this group of women have mastered so well.
“The one thing you learned about when you row, is that, you all have to come into a boat- different shapes, different sizes- and you all have to work in unison to move that boat. And there’s a power there,” says Lockbaum.
Ridley says, “The people on this team, the women on this team, we have a quality that we share, and it’s badassery.
Their triumph against cancer is igniting a sense of power that’s not only physical, but emotional.
“I realized too that, I can handle anything,” says Lockbaum.