Patty’s a fighter.  After paddling a mighty Charleston Dragon Boat to FIRST PLACE at the National Championship with 19 other breast cancer survivors, she simply won’t quit.  When I read about my city’s Dragon Boat heading to Australia in April to represent the US at the World Championship, I knew these were ibu women to celebrate.  Patty Byrne is a friend of ibu and a core member of the winning Paddles and Pearls; she is a fiery dragon herself. (Bottom row, center).  We met over coffee.

Team ibu gave Patty two pink cuffs to celebrate her 11 year passage through 11 surgeries and endless treatments to reach at last a cancer-free life; andwe plotted ways to help launch her team to the Global Championship. Off she went with the cuffs to visit Sylvia, a crew member suffering a set-back.  There’s Sylvia in the first picture, feeling the force of her team behind her and the ibu world surrounding her.  

Then, Patty took those two cuffs and headed to Ireland, to New York, across Charleston.  She met people everywhere and told them about her hope-filled path, her Dragon Boat family, her allies at ibu.  She snapped pictures of these new friends wearing ibu cuffs like Wise Warriors.  Spreading the love:  this fierce form of fidelity to women. 

This is ibu on the loose.  All it takes is one person like Patty who’s passionate about her team and raising awareness about the scourge of breast cancer; passionate for life. Add an ibu amulet and the the love flares out.  More than a few allies have come to purchase an ibu power cuff for a friend having surgery or embarking on a bold adventure or rising to a challenge - like our own Marisa and Jamie - completing the Charleston Marathon last Saturday, their ibu cuffs carrying them through. It’s our secret warrior weapon.

I can’t wait to open my emails and find Patty’s latest pick of pink warriors, knowing that, at every encounter, there was a story going on. The story of a warrior’s will, of what happens when we find the dragon in us and decide to paddle/work/create/run/love/lobby/write/speak like our lives depend on it. Who knows where it could take us???  It’s a story of winning and sometimes losing, but always reaching for the place of champions.  

Here’s to Adelaide in April, to Patty and her mates taking the world!  If you’d like to get on that boat, check out this way to donate and help get them to the World Finals.  As the dragons in pearls can teach us, we are all in this together.  Champions, all. 

all the best -
Susan Hull Walker