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.
The benefit members get from the exercise provided and the organic camaraderie is unique, life changing, and is in the process of being studied. Through data collected from the ROW team we’ve learned that ROW has increased the number of times each member works out each week by 55%. After joining ROW, 80% of members report that they exercise four or more days per week, as opposed to only 25% who exercised with that frequently prior to joining ROW. This has lead to a significant increase in the quality of life for breast cancer survivors on the team. 100% of members reported that ROW positively impacts their lives socially, emotionally or physically at least once per week and 92% of members said that ROW has positively impacted their self-esteem.