It was my very first time paddling. I couldn’t paddle as well as I wanted to. The water splashed my face but I enjoyed it anyway. As we were paddling forward I was motivated to paddle faster. When those who have breast cancer or their friends and family see me paddling, I can give courage to them. We can enjoy our lives!!! We are here!!! I’m looking forward to participating in a Dragon Boat race with everyone!!!

Thank you, Tomomi (from Japan)

My life has been completely changed. I don’t want to think the cancer has changed my life, yet I would like to think that the strength I have been developing while fighting against the cancer has changed my life in a good way.

I have been running since the first chemo treatment and trying to go for more organic and local products in my diet and daily routine.

I don’t want to be a victim of cancer, so I like to think that being diagnosed with breast cancer at such a young age is a wake-up call.

So joining team AIAB was a big deal for me. I felt so good to have a new experience in my new life. I loved the warm welcome from the senior paddlers and meeting great people who are strong and know how valuable the life is as much as I do.

When I was in the boat the first time, I immediately felt cooler air from the water. It was so refreshing for me to breathe in and out deeply and it seemed like cleansing my body. Looking up at the high rise buildings from the water was so different from the regular view. I re-realized how beautiful the city I am living in is.

However, paddling was a challenge. Using different muscles made my arms scream. I was trying to control my paddle but instead I gave big splashes to the person behind me. I was so sorry for her from bottom of my heart but I tasted the salty water too and it wasn’t too bad. I looked at the taste as part of the excitement of the whole new experience.

My hair was completely gone and now is coming back. I kind of feel as though my old self has gone and I have been re-born again with new spirit and attitude. I am willing to try any opportunity that comes to me and enjoy the one and only life I am given.

Miho (from Japan)