The Recovery on Water Mission

Recovery on Water (ROW) is a rowing team that gives breast cancer patients and survivors the unique opportunity to interact, become active in their recovery, and gain support from their peers.

Produced by Milk Products Media, Directed by Todd Tue

Our Values

We believe in the power of sport.

It is a valuable tool, capable of improving fitness and quality of life for patients and survivors of breast cancer. Rowing is a low-impact sport that utilizes the whole body and is accessible to all, regardless of fitness level.

We value teamwork.

While we know that a boat is made up of many individuals, we come together and row as one.

We put the team first. Through partnership and relationships, we will create stronger, healthier communities with our boathouse partners, our Bridgeport neighbors, and the greater South Side area.

We celebrate diversity.

Our team and board are ethnically and socioeconomically diverse.

We believe this makes us stronger, more open minded, more empathetic and most capable of changing lives. We value all survivors, those who come to us as athletes and those who do not.

We aim for quality.

We are thoughtful stewards, results oriented and data driven. We are constantly evolving our impact based on the needs of those we serve.

We value commitment in all the forms it takes.

Showing up and working hard is essential. For some, commitment is attending practices regularly, for others it is fundraising or volunteerism. All are necessary and equally appreciated.

We aim to build a sustainable organization.

We want ROW to serve patients and survivors for years to come. We achieve this through the leadership of the board, creating a diverse funding pool, and establishing ongoing relationships with breast cancer treatment centers. 


A Little ROW History

ROW was founded in 2007—a collaboration of passions between a breast cancer survivor and a high school rowing coach. These two believed that, through the power of sport, they could help breast cancer patients and survivors navigate life following diagnosis and discover a new kind of physical empowerment.

We hosted our first practice in 2008, and our team has since grown to become a national force for hope and athletic inspiration. With year-round rowing and fitness programs available free of charge, ROW gives women a chance to get fit, fight back and have fun.



"Rowing is reserved for the toughest of the tough—
people who must train their bodies to exude grace, even when essentially completing a deadlift with every race stroke. The women who join the ROW team seem to be able to sense that about rowing. For many of them, you’d never guess they had cancer unless they told you. From the outside, you’d have no idea what kind of a fight they’d been through to be who they are now—whether they’ve been cancer-free for twenty years, five days or whether they fight the fight every day.

These women are problem solvers, they’re active, they’re strong, they’re smart, and they want to come to terms with their feelings in a place with like-minded women; where they can equally keep to themselves and leave frustrations and grief on the erg or in the boat, and simultaneously have an amazingly strong support network.”

-Sheena Smith, ROW Coach, Board Secretary