A rowing team that gives survivors of breast cancer the unique opportunity to interact, become active in their recovery, and gain support from fellow survivors.

Regular exercise has been shown to reduce cancer recurrence in patients treated for breast cancer by up to 50%.

Recovery on Water (ROW®) provides exercise programs for survivors 6 days a week, year round: in rowing shells on the Chicago River during the spring, summer, and fall, and on indoor rowing machines during winter months.


Survivors of breast cancer will undergo or have undergone surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, or a combination of all three in attempts to treat their disease. Such treatments may leave patients with significant sequelae, including lymphedema, obesity, depression, and reduced quality of life. Many studies demonstrate the beneficial effects of exercise on breast cancer survivors, showing significant reduction in depressive symptoms and fatigue, and improvements in lymphedema, bone mineral density, body mass index, quality of life, and most significantly, relapse rates.


Through data collected from the current ROW team, we’ve learned that ROW has significantly increased the quality of life for breast cancer survivors on the team. One hundred percent of members reported that ROW positively impacts their lives, socially, emotionally and/or physically at least once per week. Forty percent of members reported that they experience the benefits of ROW on a daily basis. 

Before joining ROW, survivors of breast cancer on the team exercised on average 2.87 times per week. After joining ROW, survivors reported that they exercised on average 4.45 times per week. This is a 55% increase in regular exercise.

ROW has empowered me. Every time I get out of the boat or off the erg, I feel supported and loved.
— Robyn Hurtig, ROW Athlete


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