“We should all try new things every day even if they scare us, but we don’t always,” said Gingy, a GetSetUp Ambassador.
Fear, though, doesn’t seem to hold Gingy back from much. She’s faced a number of challenges in her life including battling and winning the fight against breast cancer. Now she celebrates life as a member of Pink Phurree, Texas’ first all breast cancer survivor dragon boat team.
“Our organization is mainly to make you feel that life is worth living. You know when you have been sliced and diced on with cancer you get pretty down. Our group shows us there is a good life after cancer. — We get out and paddle and laugh a lot!”
Gingy had her reservations about joining the group initially since she doesn’t consider herself athletic. However, she quickly learned it is more about comradery than physical superiority.
“If anyone had told me I’d be helping paddle a boat when I was having my mastectomy and reconstructive surgery, I’d have said they were insane.
When I was first approached to join the team I said that sounds athletic. I can’t do that. — I said no, not me! But then I went out and tried it. I knew I could at least hold a paddle — my husband and I have a canoe — so I knew I could do that.
I may not be the strongest or best paddler, but I have a lot of hope that I can get better and inspire others, so when the others look at me, they say if Gingy can — I can!”
Dragon boating involves a 40-foot long canoe-shaped boat that holds 20 paddlers, 1 steersperson, and a drummer. The drummer keeps the rhythm for the boat and sets the pace for the paddlers. Most of the paddlers in the boat are breast cancer survivors, but other cancers are represented as well — the ladies range in age from 30s — 70s.
“There are ladies of all ages and situations, and we all get along.”
In 2022 the team will head to New Zealand for the IBCPC International Dragon Boat Festival where 3,000–4,000 breast cancer paddlers will gather to celebrate active survivorship and remember those paddlers lost to breast cancer. In the meantime, they fundraise for equipment, storage, repairs, and dragon boat competitions. Pink Phurree Helping Hands Healing Hearts provides small gift cards for those cancer survivors going through hard times, and sponsor organizations like The Rose assure mammograms for those who can’t afford it.
Gingy is also a dedicated wife of over 46 years with two daughters and six grandchildren ranging in age from 2–11. She and her husband retired last year in May and had the chance to visit their cabin in the upper Michigan peninsula for a three-week vacation.
“Thank God we did it then. We couldn’t do it now. That’s why when the opportunity presents itself you have to take it.”
“It’s nice to take classes with other people my age. You can ask stupid questions and others do too. The Guides answer the same questions over and over with patience. Sometimes young people teaching assume you know things about computers that we just don’t.”
Gingy took the Get Started with Zoom for Beginners course. Not once but twice!
“I think I learned more the second time taking the class. That time I could pay attention to the things I didn’t catch the first time.”
Now she is signed up to take How to Schedule & Host Zoom Meetings for a second time to get a second round of knowledge. She wants to be able to host some of the Pink Phurree meetings since she is a committee leader.
“Websites were such a mystery for us. After the class though they made it more clear. Now we are thinking about making a site since my husband is a writer or help an artist friend design a site.”
Gingy stays busy with a variety of things even in the middle of the pandemic. The pandemic has forced her to slow down some and as she says — finally clean out those filing cabinets she kept meaning too. She also has done a lot of fellowship work with her church. As part of the caring committee, she helped arrange a drive-by parade for one of the church members — a WWII vet, who turned 100 and was in a nursing home care facility. This veteran couldn’t leave the care facility but did get to come out for the parade, which was particularly touching since she suffered a stroke not long after her 100th birthday. (Though she’s doing better now.)
Zoom for YMCA Bingo and shut-in meetings have kept her busy in addition to her Baylor Rosebuds Cancer Support Group meetings.
“I have learned through GetSetUp classes that cell phones can be more challenging to use with Zoom than a laptop. That’s why I’m using a laptop now.”
Soon Gingy and her husband hope to get back to participating in Mountain Man reenactments, where they go with family and friends in 1830s gear to camp in authentic period tents for the weekend.
Gingy is surviving this quarantine by learning new skills and going back to learn over and over again until she masters the skill. Why not see what social hours or classes help you push your boundaries?
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