Sunday, May 6, 2007

Women, Breast Cancer, Dragon Boat Racing and Stories of Courage

"No, you say, dragons are but myths
in legends of knights and maidens.
Dragons don't exist.
But, I say, let me tell you of this dragon.
As surely as it walked this earth
it entered my life by stealth.
It threatened my life and health...forever."

Carolyn Parks Prologue
"The Eye of the Dragon"

Cancer has a face and a story in

"The Eye of the Dragon"

I attended a women's conference outside London, Ontario
today and had an opportunity to hear author, speaker and cancer survivor, Carolyn Parks speak about her book, "The Eye of the Dragon" and her experiences as a member of Calgary's first dragon boat racing team. The team, aptly named,"Sistership" was made up of women living with breast cancer. During six years of hard work and commitment, Sistership enjoyed success within the community as well as in many competitions.
In 2001 the team succeeded once again with
"The Beauty of Life Calendar"...a message of hope and enlightenment for those coping with the disease as patients or caregivers. But this was no ordinary calendar. The courageous team members of Sistership tastefully reveal both body and spirit in moving photographs by Alexis Wandler
"the camera's lens captured the spirit and beauty of the
women of Sistership...their resilience and strength while living with cancer."

Carolyn Park's book The Eye of the Dragon tells the true stories of
the women featured in the Beauty of Life Calendar. A selection of Wandler's photos are also featured. "To read this book is to learn that women are more than
their breasts, that women in midlife are sensuous and lush
creatures and that cancer has a face and a story."

Jan Koopmans, MSW, RSW, Adjunct Assistant Professor,
University of Calgary, Faculty of Medicine, writes,
"I have recommended The Eye of the Dragon" to women
newly diagnosed with breast cancer, as well as long term survivors
and their families.
They tell me they feel encouraged and strengthened by the stories. A diagnosis of breast cancer is not necessary to appreciate this book. We can all be inspired by Carolyn and her "calendar girl" support team."

More about The Eye of the Dragon by Carolyn Parks

More about photographer Alexis Wandler