When residing in the Mid-Ohio Valley you can’t help but notice the different style of boats that glide along in the water as you’re driving in your car. In fact, you’ve probably noticed a possible Dragon Boat being paddled by a group of strong, determined women. Some of us here may take the rivers that we have for granted and never get the opportunity to enjoy the sense of calm a river can provide. This is something that Jessica Meibers, a rower for the MOV’n Dragons shared with me. For those of you that are not aware of who the MOV’n Dragons are and what they’re all about, you’re in for a treat. Jessica shares the inside of what it was like to join this team.

Jessica is a Kentucky native that relocated to Marietta to work as an interior designer for Copper Leaf Interiors back in September 2015. When she moved here she enjoyed running on the bike trail alongside the Muskingum River. Although she was never involved in water sports, she knew all she wanted to do was be on the water.  It was the owner of Copper Leaf, Pam Holschuh and a fellow paddler, Karen Wetz that encouraged Jessica to reach out to the MOV’n Dragons, a competitive Dragon Boat team that is comprised of breast cancer “thrivers” and supporters. The team includes women and men committed to wellness, competition and fun.

“It’s a true honor to get to paddle with these strong women. They have lived more life than I ever will.”

Jessica decided to reach out to Cathy Rees, the President of MOV’n Dragons in July 2016, right after the MOV’n Dragon’s Akron race and was told to show up for their practice. Jessica was ‘thrown  into the boat and told, “you’ll get the hang of it!”’ She started attending the practices two times a week; 5:30p.m.-8:00 p.m. on Mondays and Thursdays. They also enjoy getting together on occasional Saturdays to paddle and go out for breakfast afterward.

When I asked Jessica what it meant to her to be an MOV’n Dragon she shared that, “it’s a true honor to get to paddle with these strong women. They have lived more life than I ever will. They’re fun, amazing and just awesome!  I’m the youngest paddler and I feel like they keep ME young and motivated!” Jessica also encourages women that might be interested in joining to “come and try it and you’ll get why it’s so addicting. There’s the element of team and then being on the water; it’s a lot more beautiful than people realize and some people might not know what they have here.”

This 40 foot long boat is made of 22 women and if you would like to learn more about what a Dragon boat is and more about this specific organization please visit the website or make a donation here. The MOV’n Dragons row for many reasons but one of the benefits for breast cancer “thrivers” is the repetitive, upper body exercise found to improve fitness and greater well-being.  It allows them to build strength following a slow, progressive training program.  They also have this amazing program called the Felicia M. Buell Thriver Program where they will assist with contributing $50 for select classes.  They want to help both male or female that are at least 18+  if they’ve ever been treated for cancer to help them achieve their fitness goals. Be on the lookout for these inspiring women.

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