Charleston cancer survivors to compete in dragon boat competition in Italy

The Paddles and Pearl team of Charleston is competing in the 2018 International Breast Cancer Survivors Paddlers Commission Festival in Florence, Italy.

For Ashley Fitch, this is her first time traveling out of the country to compete in the dragon boat contest.

Fitch joined the team after she found out she was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer. Fitch says she found out about her diagnosis when her daughter was only 11 months old.

Fitch says she is thankful for the Pearls and Paddles community, "To be down here with all the people that are fighting and surviving, it takes over and gives you strength you know you didn't have."

Amy Brenan the Executive Director of the Paddles and Pearls, says the team helps to promote physical and mental heath of cancer survivors and those that may have been affected by it.

Betty Maher will also join Fitch as they travel to Italy. After being cancer free for 7 years, she was recently diagnosed with cancer again. Maher says "at the beginning of 2017, I came down with a cancer called angiosarcoma, which is caused by the radiation from my first breast cancer."

Fitch and Maher along with other team members are now looking forward to competing in the competition in July.

They will compete with more than 100 other dragon boat teams from around the world.

The Dragon Boat Charleston organization is for cancer survivors of all types. 

To learn more and donate to the Paddle and Pearls trip to Italy, please click here

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