Winning can feel like life or death for athletes at every level. But, for those who have faced their own mortality, competing on an international stage provides the opportunity to spread hope.
Time spent on the water is part of the physical and mental recovery for a Vermont team composed of breast cancer survivors. Turns out, it's also the path to victory.
Monday night, family and friends gave the Dragonheart Sisters a hero's welcome as they walked through Burlington International Airport. The team races dragon boats, and returned from one of the sport's biggest international events with silver and gold.
"This is the bravest group of people I've ever known in my life and I'm so proud of them and all of us," said team member Liz Stanton.
They train on Lake Champlain, but faced much tougher seas as they competed in Hong Kong's busy bay. "Our practice we had our first time on the water was, shall we say disastrous," said Dragonheart founder Linda Dyer. But, the team quickly found its stroke.
"These ladies faced their fears of gong in the waters and came out paddling with more heart than I've ever seen before." said Dyer.
The team of Vermonters found its success in the 200 and 500 meter categories as more than 4,700 competitors from 22 countries tried to paddle to victory. "This just shows that a group of ladies and a man who survived breast cancer can do anything that they set their minds to do," said Stanton.
As cancer survivors, the team members say they secured victory before ever entering the water. They say competing is about spreading their message of hope "I think our message rang loud and clear," said Dyer.
The Dragonheart sisters managed to be among the fastest in the water, but ironically, their return flight got a bit delayed this evening. Victory can make an 18-hour plane ride feel a bit shorter.
Friday, December 6 2013 11:16 PM EST2013-12-07 04:16:55 GMT
A Connecticut man is charged with DUI after police say he admitted to overdosing on prescribed Ritalin when he was pulled over. The incident happened on Route 105 in Berkshire late Friday afternoon. AuthoritiesMore >>
A Connecticut man is charged with DUI after police say he admitted to overdosing on prescribed Ritalin when he was pulled over.More >>
Friday, December 6 2013 10:03 PM EST2013-12-07 03:03:22 GMT
In Dorset, a car crashed into a bank and there was no drive-through lane.The car jumped the curb in front of the Berkshire Bank Friday morning, taking out a railing and getting hung up on the front steps.More >>
In Dorset, a car crashed into a bank -- and there was no drive-through lane. More >>
Friday, December 6 2013 10:01 PM EST2013-12-07 03:01:17 GMT
The longtime bookkeeper at Cold Hollow Cider Mill is expected to plead guilty to embezzling from the business and a local youth hockey program.Cold Hollow in Waterbury is one of Vermont's top tourist attractions.More >>
The longtime bookkeeper at Cold Hollow Cider Mill is expected to plead guilty to embezzling from the business and a local youth hockey program.More >>
Friday, December 6 2013 10:00 PM EST2013-12-07 03:00:14 GMT
Police in Burlington say they've caught an armed robber.Investigators arrested Tyran Sprauve, 19, Friday afternoon for assault and robbery. Police say last month he and two other men broke into a homeMore >>
Police in Burlington say they've caught an armed robber.More >>
Friday, December 6 2013 9:59 PM EST2013-12-07 02:59:17 GMT
A Claremont, New Hampshire couple is behind bars, charged with sexually assaulting two children under the age of five.Police say 25-year-old Kevin Blood and his 25-year-old wife, Ashley, were arrestedMore >>
A Claremont, New Hampshire couple is behind bars, charged with sexually assaulting two children under the age of five.More >>
Friday, December 6 2013 9:40 PM EST2013-12-07 02:40:47 GMT
College students at St. Mike's have some strong words for Vermont's Senators. The groups of young people are part of a national organization known as the Student Global AIDS Campaign. Friday they marchedMore >>
Leahy spokesman says students mininformed on Senator's record.More >>
Friday, December 6 2013 9:01 PM EST2013-12-07 02:01:01 GMT
In Burlington's Old North End there are still hints of what used to be -- a bustling Little Jerusalem years go. But one symbol of the area's past is not so obvious."It's priceless, it literally is oneMore >>
In Burlington's Old North End there are still hints of what used to be -- a bustling Little Jerusalem years go. But one symbol of the area's past is not so obvious.More >>
Friday, December 6 2013 8:50 PM EST2013-12-07 01:50:18 GMT
It's that time of the week when almost everybody says TGIF. It's the first weekend in December and that has special meaning for Plattsburgh residents like Leigh Mundy, who loves spending time in the city.More >>
A tradition in the making for Plattsburgh -- it's called First Weekends. The idea is to have a special event in downtown Plattsburgh the first weekend of every month.More >>