Posts Tagged ‘Portland Pink Phoenix’

The Pink Phoenix Story …


You may have seen the Pink Phoenix Dragon Boat Team during the Portland Rose Festival Dragon Boat Races.  In fact, you probably couldn’t help but notice them – they’re the team wearing pink life jackets.  You see, this team is made up entirely of breast cancer survivors.

Their name, Pink Phoenix, is taken from the pink ribbons worn by breast cancer survivors and from the mythical bird that consumes itself in fire and rises from its own ashes-a triumphant symbol of rebirth and renewal of human spirit, not unlike the renewed commitment to life after surviving cancer or any life threatening disease.

Interestingly, the team was not founded by a breast cancer survivor, but by an avid dragon boat paddler, Dorothy Atwood, who was inspired by a team of blind paddlers.  Founded in November 1996, with help from the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, the first team had 25 members.

None of the women had ever paddled before. They ranged in age from 29 to mid 60s and they were in different stages of physical fitness.  This didn’t stop Dorothy. Her desire to share the sport she loved so much had her out several times a week from February through the end of summer teaching and training this new team.

The team has grown from those first 25 members to more than 80! Pink Phoenix has raced in Rose Festival every year since. In fact, the team has raced in venues around the world.

Watch this video of the Pinks in action!   Our own Flourish member Deandra Ellerbe is a proud member of the Pinks.  These are all truly flourishing women.  Go girls!  We’ll be down on the Willamette cheering you to victory.


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