Meet our Team
Maureen - Coach
Coach Maureen started her career as a dragon boat racer in 2005. She fell in love with the sport. The boats, people and the physical challenge drew her in. So much so that she set a goal to make the 2007 Team USA going to Australia. With hard work, determination and commitment to attending every practice and learning the sport, she made the team. Australia was her first of many national and international competitions. She went on to win a Gold Medal in the National Championships in 2008 at Long Beach, CA. Silver and Bronze World Medalist in Progue in 2009, Gold Medal winner and National Champion in 2010. Multiple Silver and Bronze Medalist in 2011 at the Tampa Bay International Dragon Boat Championship, Silver Medalist at the 2012 World Club Crew Championships in Hong Kong and finally Gold Medal winner and National Premier Champion in 2013. Click HERE to open a Word document to learn more about Coach Maureen.
I grew up in Levittown, PA where my mother who is 89 years old still resides. I now live in Maple Shade. Like all of us, cancer found a place in my life but otherwise I have remained a strong and healthy woman. I am most proud of my two daughters, both married and with jobs they like. My husband and I live nearby and get to be with our two energetic grandsons.
But where you will best get to know me is in our dragon boat with the women known as the River Sisters. While waiting to have chemo in the summer of 2014, I picked up a pamphlet about the team and dragon boating. I was excited to be with women who understood breast cancer and kept strong with a sport that involved coordination to succeed. So on a cold rainy day in the spring of 2015, I was welcomed to a team of friendly and caring women who wanted to teach me how to paddle. The predicament of living with cancer allowed me to be with women who shared their love, laughter, and strengths both inside and outside the dragon boat. My family shares in the happiness I have as a River Sister. And as for the cancer, these women have helped me in many ways that I will always be thankful for.
Mary - Co-Captain
My name is Mary and I have the privilege of being co-captain of the River Sisters. I joined the team in 2012 after being diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer . During my first season I had to wear a back brace to protect my bones from any further damage. I cried after my first practice because I had finally found my place in life with this team. I am blessed to have met this group of girls who are compassionate, caring, resilient and strong. I am proud to call them all my sisters. We are a family who are always willing to help each other and make every new member feel as if they have known us for ever.
I am a nurse who works about 50 hours a week in both the school and the hospital setting. I have tried many different exercise routines throughout the years but paddling on a dragon boat has given me both the physical and mental strength to continue to battle cancer. My 3 grown children come to the festivals and support not only me but the whole team who have embraced them throughout the years. I love this team and plan to paddle for many years to come.
I was born and raised in Northeast Philly and have been living in South Jersey since I graduated from college. Professionally, I am in my second career managing apartment complexes. The first time around I was a radio newscaster. I have 2 grown daughters, a granddaughter and grandson. The little guys know that grandmom loves dragons and drgaon boats. That bit of magic makes up for my bad cooking.
Besides the River Sisters and all things dragon boat I quilt, everything from tee-shirt quilts to wall hangings. And I love to travel. Just when I’ve completed the travel bucket list I manage to add a few more locations. Like maybe New Zealand in 2022.
I reside in a great little neighborhood in Somerdale where I grew up. Married my high school friend, started our family in Arizona and returned to raise our three children here surrounded by our families. Now our youngest is waiting for his upcoming wedding day and our daughter is settled nearby and happily married. Joe and I have found traveling to be a great joy! We’ve been fortunate to have visited numerous countries abroad and are looking forward to a trip to Portugal in the fall.
I currently work for WW (Weight Watchers) in different capacities as I have for over 2o years and started teaching yoga in 2005. I love doing both, finding gratification in helping others find their path in a healthier way. Volunteering has also been a big part of my life, whether it be at the local school, church or more recently, Living Beyond Breast Cancer, a fantastic resource for women dealing with breast cancer.
I was diagnosed twice with breast cancer, DCIS in 2007 and IDC in 2012. The River Sisters is an amazing group of women that I reached out to while undergoing chemo. I had read a wonderful newspaper article about their battling breast cancer “one stroke at a time” and thought "maybe?". I was hooked the first time I was forced into the boat at paddle pool, and h ave been thankful ever since for the friendship, the fun and community that we share! Dragonboating by all accounts is a passion that is catchy~
I am an original member when the team was created in 2007. Since the first time I sat in a dragon boat and placed a paddle in the river I was hooked! Through the years I have had the joy of paddling with amazing, strong women who will not let the effects of cancer keep them down. We laugh, have fun and get exercise; but when a member has a need the team is always there in any way~ we are a floating support group! I am honored to be part of this wonderful group and look forward to many more years of paddling.
If a fortune teller had been with my oncologist fifteen years ago and predicted, “You will become part of a team of amazing warrior women, get trained by a world class paddler in Florida, become more physically fit than in any time in your life, race in competitions all over the country and the world, and meet lifelong friends who will inspire you for the rest of your life,” I would have walked out of the office. Yeah, right. But all of those predictions would speak to truth about the River Sisters. I am proud and honored to have served as captain of the team for three years. I am also grateful for the support of a husband and daughter who love the Sisters as much as I do!
In February 2007, I saw a flyer about the formation of a local cancer survivors dragon boat team while I was sitting in my Oncologist's office. I went to the orientation meeting and mentioned all of the physical reasons why I won't be able to paddle. The mentoring team's captain said to me, "Just get in the boat" so I did! I have been a member of our team since its inception that Spring. What an amazing and resilient group of women we are! I've watched us get stronger as paddlers, individually and as a team, and as cancer survivors through the ups and downs that often means. We are there for each other in and out of the boat. Always providing an ear to listen and lots of laughter and hugs! This group cheered me on as I pursued my PhD over 7 years, always asking me, "Aren't you done yet??" I am proud and grateful to be this year's Captain Emeritus, paddler and drummer. And It's such fun to now have my grandchildren rooting for our team on festival days!
I was diagnosed with stage IIIC, HER+ breast cancer in 2007. While attending a support group, I met Jackie, a current member of the River Sisters. I joined in 2009 and have loved this fantastic group of survivors! We laugh together while we build our strength paddling for competitions, celebrating the strong women we are, while getting together in the off season socially. I Have been married to my husband Bob for 27 years and we have 2 beautiful daughters. I am a retired school librarian who now owns a small photo organizing business. I enjoy yoga, pilates reformer, dance, Zumba, walking, swimming, bike riding and the shore!
2022 will be my 12th season as a River Sister! I was blessed to find this group.
My 1st brush with cancer was in 2009, which was a stage 3 breast cancer for which I had double mastectomies, chemo & radiation.
I never considered myself an athlete or competitive, however, I am evolving in many ways thanks to being a survivor & a member of this team. What doesn't kill you truly makes you stronger & there can be a silver lining after getting a cancer diagnosis. I am proof!
Becoming a River Sister has encouraged me to challenge myself & move outside my comfort zone. I have made wonderful, cherished friendships.
In 2016, I had a second bout with cancer. This time it was uterine cancer & I had the wonderful support of my "sisters"! I believe I might have fared better in my diagnosis & treatment due to my fitness, directly attributable to dragon boating and being a member of the fabulous River Sisters. I love my team!
Little did I know that in 2004, when I paddled with a Corporate Team for the Philadelphia International Dragon Boat Festival (aka the October Philly race) that it would turn into a 17+ year “love affair.” Most of my paddling has been on the Schuylkill River with a women’s club team. Last year, I joined the River Sisters on the Cooper River, a wonderful group of women who are an inspiration to all. Being a cancer survivor brought us all together, but the passion for the sport and the friendships we have made is what makes this team special! I look forward to continue paddling alongside my team mates for many more years!
In 2016 I went the Burlington, VT dragon boat festival. We watched the teams of breast cancer survivors race and party! I loved it and told my husband I wanted to join a team. One thing was missing, I did not have breast cancer. Fast forward to August 2018. I was diagnosed with mucinous (colloid) breast cancer and had a single mastectomy in September. As I was recovering from another surgery that December, I started googling for a local dragon boat team. And I found River Sisters. At the first team meeting, I saw a roomful of strong, fun (and funny) women and knew I wanted to be on the team. 2019 was my first year. So much technique to learn, but the Sisters were so encouraging. I loved my first season and the Sisters. And so blessed and thankful to be a part of this amazing bunch! I’m a retired school nurse. I’ve been married to my high school sweetheart for 51 years and we have two grown sons, one grandson and two granddaughters. Best of all, my younger son now lives in Burlington, VT and I was lucky enough to participate in the 2019 dragonboat festival! It was even better to be a part of it and to do it with my team!
In 2019, thanks to my Michelle, I had the joy of paddling with the River Sisters in a community boat on Cooper River. Everyone on the team was so kind, welcoming and inspirational that I knew this was a team and a sport I wanted to be a part of. I was diagnosed with cancer when I was 18 from a fluke ski accident. That day I learned 2 things, I am VERY bad at skiing and what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I am so excited to be apart of this team and ready to get out onto the water with all of these amazing women!
While working at Active Day Medical Day, I was diagnosed with cancer. I met “Meny”(Catherine) who insisted that I give The River Sisters/Dragon Boating a try...hesitant at first, I quickly took a love to the team. Being on the water with this amazing group of women is therapeutic and fun! When I am not paddling, I enjoy hanging out with my friends, neighbors and family. I also enjoy walking and hiking with my hound dog, Dudley.
In 2013 my husband Art & I went to Cape May to support our dear friend Michelle & her River Sisters team at the Cape May Dragonboat Festival. We even sold Art's famous pumpkin bread to donate the proceeds to the team. Then in Nov. 2014 I was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer. I had a lumpectomy & started radiation Jan-Feb 2015. When the 2015 season started I decided to join the team. It was the best decision I ever made. I never played a sport in my life & here I was at 65
getting into a dragonboat. No one was more surprised than ME that I was doing this! There was quite a few "newbies" that season, Cheryl, Pat & Nellie was among the group! Just a few months on the team we had a devastating life event in August 2015. The support of this team to my family was overwhelming they hardly knew us.I grew up with 4 brothers and always wanted a "sister". Now I have a whole team of sisters. I am blessed & thank God to be a part of this amazing group of women and look forward to many years of paddling with my River Sister team. I work part
time with Virtua GI & when I'm not working I enjoy time with my family my son Eric, Crystal, my grandsons Evan & Collin, and my daughter Kelly, I just learned to crochet so I have been making baby blankets & hats to donate.
Can I try something new at 85? I had triple negative breast cancer in 2011 and ER pos. breast cancer in 2018 with surgery, chemo & radiation each time. . I am a retired medical laboratorian and a soundboard tech volunteer at my church. My husband and four children always enjoyed canoeing. I switched to a kayak after my husband died. My daughter, Linda dragon boats with the Red Dragon Canoe Club in Beverly, NJ. I recently attended a cancer survivors program and your members had a table with information about the River Sisters. Your orientation meeting was very welcoming so I signed up to give it a try.
My name is Sue, and I was new to the River Sisters in 2021. I am not new to Dragon Boating, however, as I have 5 years of paddling experience with the River Sirens. I was inspired to try dragon boating by my daughter and daughter-in-law.
I am also a cancer survivor and I am very happy to be paddling with this group of supportive and loving women. I am a retired RN and I also enjoy singing in choir, photography, and mah jongg. I have been married to Sal for 46 years. We have been blessed with 2 children and 4 grandchildren.