In their dragon boat, eight of them will cover 200 kilometers accompanied by a professional coxswain. ” idea Dr. Frédéric came from Truchet. He wanted to organize an event completely dedicated to these women who have or have been affected by breast cancer. He wanted to show them that there is life after illness and that they are capable of great things,” explains Lucy Meunier, one of the organizers of the United Ladies Raid.
This year, 11 nationalities have come to take up the challenge. “There are women from Australia, Ireland, America, Germany, Belgium, England, Italy, Spain, Austria, New Zealand and France. All thanks to the distribution of our film on social networks,” says Lucy.
A meticulous organization
To better support these women, 17 members of staff follow them on boats or on land. Among them, two doctors, a kitchen team, a logistics team, two people in charge of communication and the production of a film following the adventure, and a professional helmsman on a boat. “They spend two evenings talking in the middle of nowhere. We are on the road, we bring their bags and all the equipment they need to sleep, we set up the camp,” explains Pierre Beaudet, a volunteer in the logistics team. “The chefs ask each participant about their diet, allergies and tastes. All meals are meticulously prepared for their well-being,” he adds.
All this organization comes at a cost. A procession was held to cover the cost as much as possible. “The Pagai Plus Loin Association organized an auction of artworks to fund part of the event,” explains Lucy Munier. “We do everything to make sure the girls get their registration as cheap as possible”, underlines Pierre. With all these efforts, each participant pays the sum of 780 €.
“A Human Adventure”
These four days have a therapeutic and psychological impact on these women who have gone through a difficult time. “It’s a celebration of the life you’re going to experience together. Have fun, be yourself, be open to others and the nature around you,” said Dr.R Frédéric Truche to the participants at the opening of this edition.
Indeed, each day will be under the sign of harmony and communication. “We have planned meetings in the evenings with the mayors and farmers of the municipalities that will welcome us, or with local artists who are going to give concerts. It is above all a human adventure,” concluded Pierre Beaudet. A second edition on the same route has been scheduled for September in view of the number of women who could not register by August 1.
“Together we overcome ourselves, it’s magic”
Sonja and Veronique traveled miles to attend United Ladies.
“It’s my first time,” Veronique explains. Having lived in Valencia, Spain for 30 years, she sees the experience as both a sporting and human challenge. “There are still 200 kilometers to go and you have to catch them. I’m not necessarily very physically fit, so I’m a little worried about not going the distance. But we live with the same 8 people for 4 days and we stay for two nights in a tent with a buddy. Part of the challenge is living in society. “It’s a human adventure that allows me to connect with people who are different, but we share the same pain,” says Véronique.
This is the second partnership for Sonja, who is originally from Austria but lives in Brussels. “It was an extraordinary experience and I wanted to come back. Last year I found rowing friends and we formed a strong bond. But I’m going to make new acquaintances and I’m happy,” she explains. According to Sonja the key word is mutual aid. “All partners need to support each other and pull each other to really succeed in the challenge,” she explains. “It feels good to be with people who have been on the same journey as us, and we push ourselves together, it’s magical. “This moment allows me to see that while the disease is always in my head, it’s not what drives my life,” Sonja concludes.
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