I recently wrote the foreword to “Reaching for Life,” a book I am co-editing with fellow dragon boat coach/steerer and good friend, Raul Fernandez-Calienes. The book is a collection of stories about breast cancer survivors and dragon boating. The foreword tells my story of a close friend who died young.I saw cancer’s very ugly side. Luckily, the stories in this book are more powerful than the disease – these women survived, lived through it to tell their stories, get along in a new and very different way in this world. We easily take advantage of knowing we likely get each day. We take it for granted that we will wake up every morning and sleep every evening.

Women who have been dealt this particular disease seem to be set apart in terms of connection to the breast itself (as odd as that may sound, it seems to be a underlying, unspoken theme). Perhaps this can be attributed to the female identity with body parts that distinguish us, setting us apart from other women. It is also a part of us that helps create our feminine identity. These survivors share a special kind of bond, and how they bring it to the boat is unique.

It has been our great pleasure to work on this project. We’re excited about sharing these stories. More to come about the book and other details…

I realized after writing the foreword how much death or having any encounter with it can teach you why and how to live. That is what the book is about – living, reaching – grasping life.