Pink Angels


I am a member of Pink Phoenix Dragon Boat Team. This team is comprised of approximately 80 kickass breast cancer survivors. I adore these women! And even though I am not very athletic, the Pinks seem to like me too. Because I’m not very athletic, and I really don’t like to sweat, I struggled to figure out WHY I so loved this group. Here’s what I wrote shortly after I joined.

Spring 2008

Paddle buried deep in the water,
I am frozen in anticipation.
I wait.
I am a primal spirit awaiting the battle.
Energy flows through me,
tightening my muscles,
every nerve ending glowing like candles on a cake.

I feel whole.
I don’t notice my scars,
I ignore my tiredness.
In this moment…
cancer is irrelevant.

I am not alone.

I am surrounded by my sisters,whose strength and beauty amaze me.
Two by two we balance the boat,
Left and right,
port and starboard,
light and shadow.
Two halves making whole.

On the water, we become warriors,
A Tribe of women bonded through adversity.
Battle scars born proudly,
armored and ready.

We step onto the water to reclaim our bodies,
reclaim our power.



Now comes the hard part…losing my teammates. I didn’t realize when I joined that not all of them would survive. I was so busy having fun and working hard that I kind of forgot that cancer was still trolling among us. The women listed/shown below are teammates that I paddled with and knew personally during the past 7 years who are now Pink Angels. This list does not include all of the Pink Phoenix members who have died, nor did cancer take all of these women (though it did take most of them).

I will always remember you…Cedar, Lois, Jenan, Meg, Becky, Leslie, Sharleen, Kathy, Elva Rene, Janet and Linda.

becky3 practice cedar2 Meg - Victoria 2011 Lois and Cedar linda Leslie Kathy-Janet-Elva Rene Jenan janet Elva Rene and Kathy

5 thoughts on “Pink Angels”

  1. Your poem is spot on. There were many races my first couple of seasons in which I felt so emotional that I would come to tears mid-race motivating myself to push through power sets and to the finish. I would think this is way easier than chemo or cancer; I can paddle and kick ass!

  2. …. I am inspired by our Pink Angels. I can often “see” then on a bench ahead of me. I am humbled by the brave women still in battle who get in those boats and paddle with me. It’s because we all know life is normal until it’s not. Thanks for your blog, Deandra!

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