Starting in April every year since 2011, in addition to baby birds chirping, and late sunsets dropping, along Spa Creek you might hear the call or witness something entirely different along the waterway – an ancient Chinese tradition dating back over 2,000 years. The vision, a dragon boat, is very real and the paddlers are more than rowers, they are survivors.
The Annapolis Dragon Boat Foundation, the charitable arm of the Annapolis Dragon Boat Club (ADBC), that promotes the development of healthy bodies and spirits for men and women as they recover from breast and other cancers, was recently gifted an original Nancy Hammond fine art original entitled Dragon Boat with Paddles. This stunning piece of art, displays an almost Viking-like strength and simplicity.
“Never did I feel a more important task when designing a poster than this one,” says Ms. Hammond. “I saw the strength and quiet resolve of all the participants in the dragon boat club and like the vibrant attitudes of the club members, the colors are bright, primary tones. The dragon is licking its chops to compete, to win, to conquer.”
“It was an honor to be asked to create this piece. I was compelled to show forward movement and ferocious determination. I hope I lived up to all members’ expectations,” she said.
In 2010, her friend, and fellow Annapolis entrepreneur, Mike Ashford, and breast cancer survivor founded the club and foundation dedicated to breast cancer survivors and supporters. The tradition of dragon boat paddling for breast cancer survivors is based on medical research debunking theories that patients treated for breast cancer should avoid rigorous upper body exercise to ward off the onset of lymphedema. Conducted by Dr. Don McKenzie in 1996, his studies at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada proved dragon boating, which is both strenuous and repetitive, the perfect exercise for patients, with no onset of lymphedema.
Now, twenty years later, ADBC is dedicated to providing a supportive environment for the fitness, recovery and strengthening of persons who have survived cancer.
“We are honored, delighted and overwhelmed by the generosity of Nancy Hammond,” said Mike Ashford. “With this signature showpiece, Dragon Boat with Paddles, the original of which now hangs in the Breast Cancer Center at AAMC, we will be able to raise both awareness, and funds, for this unique breast cancer survivor support group. We are truly grateful.”
Monies raised from the sale of the Dragon Boat with Paddles prints and notecards (available online at www.AnnapolisDragonBoatClub.org) support the club. They now have their own pink boat, and provide donations to Anne Arundel Medical Center’s (AAMC) Breast Cancer “Survivors Offering Support” program where breast cancer survivors visit patients, pre-surgery, with a support gift bag of various items they will need post-surgery.
Patricia Holle of ADBC says Nancy Hammond’s donation has made it possible for the foundation to additionally support Wellness House of Annapolis which provides free services and programs to those touched by cancer and “helped to fund a room in the hospital’s Critical Care Unit where family members can wait for a patient being treated, during consultation or for privacy.”
A dedication ceremony was held earlier this year at the Anne Arundel Medical Center’s Breast Cancer Center with Nancy Hammond, Dr. Lorraine Tafra, Founder and Director of AAMC’s Breast Cancer Center, ADBC founder, Michael Ashford, invited guests and members of the Annapolis Dragon Boat Club.
Nancy Hammond has produced many limited edition fine art prints. All her limited edition giclées and silkscreens are printed on 100% archival paper, and signed and numbered by the artist. Nancy Hammond majored in Painting at the Rhode Island School of Design. Her work has since been chosen to be exhibited in galleries and the Baltimore Museum of Art, and Maryland Institute of Art. Nancy Hammond Editions is located at 192 West Street in Annapolis, Maryland and online at www.NancyHammondEditions.com
The mission of the Annapolis Dragon Boat Club is to promote the development of healthy bodies and spirits for men and women, to support recovery from breast cancer and other cancers, and to grow friendships and teamwork. The club promotes and develops the sport of dragon boating as a means of building physical strength, endurance and confidence with an emphasis on recreation, synchrony, and harmony while on the beautiful Spa Creek of Annapolis. Contact [email protected]
Membership to ADBC is open to survivors, and supporters. Dues for ADBC for 2016 are $100 annually. Members enjoy unlimited paddling from April through October. Non-members are welcome to paddle as a guest – first three paddles are free. Practices are Tuesdays, Thursdays, at 6 p.m. and every other Saturday morning.