A member of Space Coast Dragon Boat Club
A non-profit organization in Melbourne, Florida
Breast Cancer Survivors
Although dragon boating has been around for quite a while, the sport found its way to Brevard County and Beth Gitlin in 2013. Beth had been diagnosed with breast cancer and completed her treatment plans in December 2012. It was through her neighbors, John and Linda Dyer that she learned about the benefits of dragon boating for breast cancer survivors. John and Linda are well-known in the dragon boating community where they coach several dragon boat teams in Burlington, Vermont, as well as compete in national and USA team events in the US and Canada. As leaders of this team, they have held many fundraisers and festivals to support community cancer organizations and breast cancer research over the past ten years.
With John and Linda's help and support purchasing boats and equipment, as well as their in-depth experience in dragon boating Beth decided to start a team of breast cancer survivors and supporters in order to give those individuals a sense of community, fellowship, camaraderie, fun, and hope. Recruiting events were held and soon there were enough people signed up to form two teams. Thus, Space Coast Dragon Boat Club was established with two teams - the Heart and Soul "Sisters" Dragon Boat Team (survivors) and the Banana River Boomers (supporters) team in the spring of 2013. In 2015, the Banana River Boomers became Heart and Soul Supporters, aka "Paddlers Gone Wild". Many of these team member's lives have been affected by cancer through loved ones or friends. We all have the same goal - to improve our heath and fitness, have fun and to support the efforts of our "Sisters" surrounding cancer awareness.
Although we are fortunate to be able to paddle year round, our season begins in February and goes through December. Practices are held on Wednesday and Sunday evenings and Saturday mornings, weather permitting. Most of the festivals that we participate in are around the state of Florida which includes 20 person boat races as well as 10 person boat races. Introductory paddling sessions are held once a month for anyone interested in trying out this amazing sport. For more information, please check out our Paddling Sessions tab.
In addition to paddling, Heart and Soul also hosts team socials, fundraising events and is involved in several environmental projects around Brevard County. We strongly believe in supporting the community in which we paddle, especially when it come to the environment and our waterways. For more information see our Festival and Events Section.