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Chicago breast cancer rowing team founder to speak in Vero Beach

Stuart News - 11/13/2017

In the summer of 2012, Jenn Junk rowed the 1,500-mile perimeter of Lake Michigan and raised more than $150,000 for boats and equipment for Recovery on Water, a Chicago-based non-profit rowing team dedicated to helping breast cancer survivors improve their physical and mental well-being.

On Nov. 18, she'll share the story behind the founding of Recovery on Water and its successes during a special reception from 3 to 5 p.m. at the United Way of Indian River County, 1836 14th Ave., Vero Beach.

The special gathering, which is free and open to the public, is co-hosted by Vero Beach Rowing and Friends After Diagnosis, a breast and women's cancers support group.

Recovery on Water was co-founded by Junk in 2007, and her 2012 journey proved pivotal for the organization and for her. She became the executive director, and today the group offers free daily exercise programs year-round to breast cancer survivors. From spring through fall, it happens in rowing shells on the south branch of the Chicago River, and during winter the team uses rowing machines.

Junk is a U.S. Rowing Level II certified coach and yoga instructor, and was recognized as the 2011 Masters Coach of the Year by U.S. Rowing.

"Recovery on Water is a rowing team that gives survivors of breast cancer the unique opportunity to interact, become active in their recovery, and gain support from fellow survivors," she explains. "The goal of the ROW program is to increase exercise consistency in people diagnosed with breast cancer and to improve their quality of life."

Many studies demonstrate the beneficial effects of exercise on breast cancer survivors, including significant reductions in depressive symptoms and fatigue, and improvements in lymphedema, bone mineral density, body mass index, quality of life, and, most significantly, recurrence rates.

Recognizing the health benefits of rowing, Friends After Diagnosis and Vero Beach Rowing began a partnership earlier this year, with the rowing club offering six-week rowing sessions to breast and women's cancer survivors. Two sessions have been completed with another scheduled to begin in January.

"We have greatly appreciated Coach Gary Marra's dedication to teaching our women the fundamentals of rowing," said Kat Shippee, Row Beyond Diagnosis coordinator and Friends After Diagnosis board member. "Everyone with Vero Beach Rowing has been incredibly encouraging, and we are excited to welcome Jenn Junk to our community and hear the inspirational story behind Recovery on Water."

The Nov. 18 reception is open to the public and refreshments will be served.

Reservations may be made by contacting Kat Shippee at 772-538-5860 or katship1@aol.com. More information about Friends After Diagnosis may be found at FriendsAfterDiagnosis.com.

 
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