The Nerdery - Overnight Website Challenge

Twin Cities 2014, April 12-13

Dragon Divas

Paired with Wyld Stallyns

We help breast cancer survivors thrive through the sport of dragon boat racing! Founded in 2006, Dragon Divas is an all-volunteer non-sectarian 501(c3) nonprofit organization 70 members strong, serving the Twin Cities and surrounding area, including Western Wisconsin. Our organization is dedicated to promoting the importance of early detection and exercise in survivorship. By putting our paddles in the water, we show other breast cancer survivors, their families and friends, and our community that we can be strong, be healthy, and thrive following the diagnosis of breast cancer.

Our support happens on the boat, in the gym, and during events. We embrace the growing body of medical research supporting the role exercise plays in extending and improving the quality of life for survivors. After treatment, many survivors are encouraged and inspired to develop a healthier lifestyle and to increase their physical fitness. As the Twin Cities' only breast cancer dragon boat team, the Dragon Divas provide a safe and tested fitness routine to assist individuals with these goals.

What new functionality we are looking for

Outreach, Education, and Fundraising: Public

. We need a Public Announcement section to highlight upcoming events, such as festivals, fundraisers, education outreach opportunities and other news and events. Possible topics: In the news, practice times, event info, emergency schedule changes, featured stories, our mission statement, etc.

. We cannot fulfill our mission without the support of family, friends, sponsors, and donors. Fundraising efforts in support of our mission will be enhanced through a sponsorship and donation information section. We need a website design that helps us prominently display sponsor logos and links, and helps us highlight our many supporters.

. A consistently placed donor button/link on most pages is also important to our website. We use GiveMN for online donations.

. The site needs to support multiple platforms (PC, Mac, iPad, mobile devices).

Member Support: Private

. We would like a more seamless solution that connects our website and our internal communications. We started with a webpage in WordPress and a Facebook page. We added a standard closed (members only) Yahoo Group for sharing information about events, training, equipment, practices, member polls, photos from events, fundraisers, and documents from our various committees and board. While it functions, it is not an optimal solution.

. We would appreciate a password protected, "members only" section, with multiple access levels. As an all-volunteer organization, it is important that each Diva be able to contribute directly to private informal discussions, containing anything and everything that members want to talk about, organized by discussion topic which can be stated by any member. Think LinkedIn. It is also important that each Diva be able to initiate polls and surveys (minimizing postage), upload (and download) photos and documents, and add birthdays or events to an online calendar.

. The ability to maintain secure membership and donor information databases online would be a great help. Each year we track membership and event registrations, including a member directory with contact information and picture, medical waivers, festival interest and commitment, and other information. It would be wonderful if online member and donor data could be updated by any individual member with proper access.

. We need a better system for uploading, downloading, cataloging and storing photos from our many events. Currently we use our Yahoo Group and Snapfish to manage photos. Snapfish does not allow direct download.

Website Administration

. As an all-volunteer organization, we need a content management system that is easy to learn, easy to use, and accessible by multiple members, anytime, from anywhere, by multi-access levels. Members can respond to the internal discussion area. Administrators can make changes to public and internal areas.

. An efficient search utility is essential, as we have many events, activities, discussions, and documents to track, on both the public and private sections.

. We would prefer a website that we can easily support ourselves, and for which there are good resources for post-event technical support and education, as we have limited technical and financial resources and a minimal technology budget.

Our Wish List

. We would like to have a consistent look across our website and Facebook pages.

. We may need graphic design assistance to help us with our logo.

. It would be great if we could also have media support for video.

Thank you for this opportunity! We would be thrilled to have a new website designed by professional nerds. We need your expertise, wisdom, and creativity to help us turn survivors into thrivers.

How the new functionality will help

We are an "on the water" support group for breast cancer survivors providing continuing health and lifestyle education to our members as well as to the community at large. By sharing links to cancer- and health-related organizations and news, and through scheduled education offerings with professional speakers, we strive to provide information for our members and other survivors that is helpful to recovery. Our education efforts will be enhanced through a more comprehensive and user friendly website.

We also invite breast cancer survivors into our unique circle of support. Through our ongoing events, communications, training, social and outreach opportunities, those who join the Divas quickly learn how active we are as a group, both on and off the water. We need a website that makes it easy for Divas to connect as an online community, and that permits individual members to efficiently coordinate and track the many facets of our work, including events, calendar updates, member and donor information, photo and document storage.

In addition, we are actively trying to increase financial support through donations and corporate sponsorships, to support our outreach/education efforts, to help offset festival costs, and to help maintain our boat and equipment. A site that is attractive to potential sponsors, and that allows us to properly acknowledge sponsors and donors is essential to our mission.

Originally created by one of our long-time members, our current blog has served us well or many years. As our organization has expanded, however, the complexity of our technology needs has increased.

How our organization will use the technology

Who will use the technology

114 Messages from Supporters

2014-03-09 17:31:23 UTC
Sheila Ludden

As a board member and fundraising committee member of the Dragon Divas, I would appreciate an updated website that helps us attract sponsors and clearly lets visitors see what our organization does to help breast cancer survivors realize they can live active and vibrant lives after a diagnosis. We are an active support group that fights breast cancer "one stroke at a time", unlike any other group in our area. We promote physical fitness year round for our members and we offer free, open to the public, outreach events on cancer related topics. The Dragon Divas has been an incredible adventure for me as a cancer survivor, improving my physical fitness and providing a support group that functions as a team both on and off the water. I love being involved with this group!

2014-03-09 17:29:36 UTC

The Dragon Divas are an active, FUN, hardworking group of breast cancer survivors! Both on and off the water, Divas are reaching out in support to each other and to the wider community. Whether working out together at a YMCA, training on the water for festival competitions, participating in cancer walks, sponsoring/attending talks, or donating time at organizations like Feed My Starving Children, the positive energy of this group is contagious! The proof of our mission statement is evident in the actions and attitude of our members: “we demonstrate that a full and active life is possible following the diagnosis of breast cancer.”

My Diva sisters truly helped me reclaim my JOY in life AND my physical STRENGTH after cancer treatment! We are there for each other, supporting and encouraging each Diva to be the best she can be, and to live life to the fullest. I am stronger now than I was at the time of my cancer diagnosis. And playful and positive energy abounds! I am having FUN! I am THRIVING! I’m so GRATEFUL to have found the Divas!

WE NEED HELP FROM A NERDY TEAM! We are PASSIONATE about our work and we work hard, but as an all-volunteer group, we need BETTER TOOLS to help us work smarter, not harder! We need to attract sponsors as we grow, so we can better support our members and so we can reach out to more survivors! WE NEED A NEW WEBSITE to HELP SUPPORT OUR MISSION. Thank you, Nerdery, for offering an event to benefit nonprofits like ours, with limited resources for web design and support.

2014-03-09 18:03:14 UTC
karen krueger

As a Breast Cancer Survivor I was looking for a group that would understand the treatment a person goes thru also a group that knows how to enjoy lifes ups and downs.

I found that in the Dragon Divas they showed me there is life after treatment and cancer and how to be healthy in the process.

When I was checking out the divas on the web it was not what I was expecting I wanted to see pictues of women paddling on the water and also links of news articles so that I could read up on them.

As a Diva I would like a site that is easy to navigate for beginner like me to have all the lists in a row and easy to operater.
Thank Yous for hopefully getting us set up on the right path .

2014-03-09 21:56:38 UTC
Gary Livingston

I am the husband of my very favorite Dragon Diva. (Ione Livingston) The Divas are a wonderful organization of women who are dedicated to life, health and great friendship. I have got to know most of the Divas through racing events around the country as well as an international event in Canada. I love being with the men supports of the Divas and we are known as the MAN CAVE men. The support and the wonderful fellowship of this organization is fantastic. I encourage anyone interested in working with and/or supporting this group and I am sure it will be beneficial for your company or organization.

2014-03-10 03:23:37 UTC
Ione Livingston

By having a new website you would definitely be helping us "keep our boat afloat." I have been a member of the Divas since 2006 and have found this organization to offer the best support group available while keeping our minds and bodies healthy by paddling our Dragon boat. A new and improved website would encourage more community involvement and help us get out message out that there is definitely life after cancer. It also serves as our communication tool between members by keeping us informed in a timely manner of upcoming events. The Dragon Divas is a group of individuals who was brought together by the misfortune of experiencing breast cancer and has joined forces to become an enthusiastic group of friends.

2014-03-10 20:34:49 UTC
Ryan Schultz

My mother is a breast cancer survivor. After winning the battle against her cancer, she found the Dragon Diva organization. This organization has been such a great resource and support group for my mom and the other members. I have seen such a dramatic change in her once she became invovled in this organization. Not only does the organization provide a means for continuing to stay physically fit, it provides its members a great resource of other survivors. The fellow members have experienced the same problems and issues, and are able to help support each other in both the good and bad times.

I think the Dragon Divas fulfill an important gap in the battle against breast cancer. The struggles do not end once the treatment ends. Rather, that is the beginning of the journey back. The Dragon Divas helps the survivors have the strength and courage to get back into life, and realize they have come out stronger.

The Dragon Divas need a website to help this growing organization promote its mission and communicate with its expanding members. With its expanding roster, there is a significant need for a web site that allows the members to get the necessary information to fully participate in the Dragon Divas. In addition, the Dragon Divas need a creative, engaging web site so that the world can see all of the wonderful things it does for these amazing people.

2014-03-10 20:51:01 UTC

These women have a way of inspiring anyone they come in contact with, including my 2 year old son! Noah watched these women row thier way to the finish line to "get the flag"! Anytime he sees anyone completing anything he asks if they "got the flag"! Lets face it these women have done so much more then "get the flag"! This group of women has shown my young family what it means to celebrate life...thanks mom (eimma) and Dragon Divas for always having a smile on your faces!

2014-03-10 20:53:56 UTC
Carrie Lyles

I have had the wonderful opportunity of teaching Zumba classes for the last two years to this incredible group of breast cancer survivors, known as the Dragon Divas. I started out as the "teacher", but that role was quickly reversed as I got to know this group a little better. They are so much fun to be around and they work hard. I have learned so much from them and, for that, I am grateful. They have an insurmountable amount of passion for life. The zeal and fervor that they exude is amazing! I truly believe that a more sophisticated website that can help this group in so many ways, including spreading their message of living life to its fullest, will be beneficial for all.

2014-03-11 12:42:46 UTC

I am the husband of a Dragon Diva. My wife joined this group about 4 years ago. I have watched hope take over my wife's outlook on life as I have watched her physical fitness improve since she joined this up-beat, positive group of cancer survivors. The Dragon Divas are a great group of women who support each other both on and off the water and present hope to families of those in our community who face this disease.

2014-03-11 13:42:59 UTC
Jill Pritchard-Scott

I can think of no better testimonial to how the Dragon Divas inspire others than that of my 3-year-old grandson, Noah, who lives in California. I am his Canadian grandma. His Minnesota grandma, or "Ima" as he calls her, is Dragon Diva Ione Livingston, a breast cancer survivor. Noah has always been awed by the powerful paddling and esprit de corps of the Divas. When he visits us in Canada, he and I do pretend paddling practice together, as if we are in a dragon boat. Recently, my husband and I were Skyping with Noah and his little sister, Audrie. Noah raced up to the camera, his face beaming, a framed photograph in hand. "That's my Ima, that's my Ima, and that's Gayle" (another Dragon Diva), he told us, so proudly. He showed us the post-race picture of the Divas when they had won a gold medal in a race last year. What amazing role models the Dragon Divas are - for each other, and for their family and friends, young and old. I have watched them race, too, and am so touched by their team spirit, determination, hard work and they way they support each other. They deserve a great web site because they do great things in their community, near and far.

2014-03-11 14:30:45 UTC

Before my breast cancer diagnosis last year, I was physically active -- biking, taking yoga classes, walking. After my cancer surgery, I didn't have the energy to work out and I didn't know how to embrace the "new normal" of my life. I heard about the Dragon Divas through a friend. From my first email to the group, I knew I had found a supportive and caring community committed to physical fitness as a way to fight cancer. I feel very fortunate to have found the Dragon Divas. Though I am still a newbie to the group, I can see that there is a lot going on behind the scenes. A website that could better facilitate communication, event planning, idea sharing, etc would greatly help the Dragon Divas reach more survivors and keep expanding the important work that this group does.

2014-03-11 16:05:48 UTC

I have been with the Dragon Divas (and cancer free) for 7 years. The women (and men) in this organization are all about helping others to become better people and this group reaches out and touches many, many lives. As the Dragon Divas and technology continue to grow a website that would fit the needs of our group would help us to reach out and touch even more people. Please consider helping us to update our website and you will find you have a new group of friends that will sing your praises loudly.

2014-03-11 17:30:53 UTC

While we do have a current website, it is not easy for seasoned Divas or new Divas to navigate and locate information! It would be wonderful to be able to have a site that is very user friendly for everyone from novice computer users to "techi" people. We have many wonderful donors and sponsors, it would be great to be able to have them easily visible to anyone who wanders onto the Diva's informational site. As we continue to have talks and mini conferences, it would be really nice to be able to advertise those speakers to reach a wider audience, than by word of mouth or hanging posters!

2014-03-11 18:47:45 UTC

The Dragon Divas have made me an athlete at age 62! This is the power of this organization--transforming people's lives. The Dragon Diva mission states that the organization is "dedicated to promoting the early detection of breast cancer and raising awareness in the community of the importance of physical fitness in fighting this disease." As important as that mission is, what this statement can't fully convey is how the Divas have positively affected the life of each member, and each member's family and friends. I believe we all feel we are better people for having joined this organization, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally. We need a new website to help us promote this message in the community as well as to help us communicate with our growing membership. Please help us get out the word that life after cancer can be rewarding and fulfilling. The Dragon Divas can change lives!

2014-03-11 21:46:20 UTC

I have been a Dragon Diva since it was a dream in the mind of our founder, Mary Skrypek. Mary had seen her mother pass away from breast cancer and then experienced the disease herself. Her inspiration was a medical conference where she learned about dragon boat teams in Canada paddling to improve their survival odds and prevent or control lymphedema caused by breast cancer surgery that may compromise the lymph system. She envisioned the Chinese dragon boat as a "vessel of healing" for the breast cancer community in St. Paul, Minnesota.
I am so delighted I joined Mary as she passionately worked to make her dream a reality. As a full-fledged “klutz”, I have learned to paddle imperfectly; but my sisters have encouraged and supported me as I muddle along. As one of the long-term and “older” sisters, I have watched this group grow exponentially –- sad when you think of the initiation (i.e., breast cancer) to join. But there is nothing sad about this group. It is vibrant, joyful, and loving.
The only thing missing from the Divas is a better tool for communicating our mission and zest for life with each other and the wider community. We will be forever grateful for the expertise of our Nerdery Team!

2014-03-11 23:08:53 UTC
Sandra K. Rosenberg MD, FABPMR

I have been with the Dragon Divas since the beginning. In 2005, two physical therapists, Mary S and Robin N, and I started talking about the budding sport of dragon boat racing for breast cancer survivors. Being a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician I had long recognized the important health impact of exercise for recovery from illness. Having been diagnosed with breast cancer myself at the age of 34, I knew intimately that with a team of breast cancer survivors there could be not only physical benefits, but psychological benefits as well. It is very true that the greatest understanding comes from those that have walked in your shoes. Mary S. took the reigns and from there the Dragon Diva team took off.
Since that time I have not only been a member of the team and its medical adviser, but I have also referred many patients to the group. More and more scientific research supports the positive role exercise contributes to cancer patients' survival. The Dragon Diva team offers companionship, understanding, support, fun and exercise. Most of all, it offers a way to live again, to regain confidence and experience life.
The work it is doing is tremendous and life changing. Any help that can be received to strengthen the Dragon Divas' message would benefit not only this group, but many other survivors and their loved ones.

2014-03-12 18:46:40 UTC

I am a Parent of a Dragon Diva who went thru my daughters cancer treatments and how she went from being on the go from am - pm and then went to sleeping and resting most of the time and no energy.

I was really happy when she found out about the Dragon Divas she went from being down to being excited about something new .

I think it did her a world of good when she joined into the organization and how she gets about doing things they do and places they go .

The Dragon Divas help out other women survivours and their families to stay healthy,active and enjoy life more.

Thank You Dragon Divas and keep up the good work you all do and Hopefully you get a new web site to help in your endevours.

2014-03-12 21:49:44 UTC
Cindy Borup at Metcalf M&S

Our experience with the Dragon Divas has been a very positive, uplifting and fulfilling one. The sister of one of our long time employees was diagnosed with breast cancer several years ago. We watched as she and her family worked through the difficult challenges she faced, and cheered her on through the process. She has since discovered the Dragon Divas and has become an active member---something she told us she never dreamed of doing before! Our company has had the pleasure of participating in several of their fund-raising activities. We feel good about donating to the Dragon Divas because we know someone who has used the benefits it has to offer to breast cancer survivors, and we believe it is an organization that can continue to grow and help people who so desperately need what they have to offer. Certainly a newly designed website will be a huge help to them as they work hard to accomplish their goals, grow their membership and increase the donations and support they need. We believe they are a very deserving organization!

2014-03-12 23:45:07 UTC

I have been a Dragon Diva since 2009 and can't even begin to describe what belonging to this organization has done for my physical, spiritual and mental health. We are enough Divas to fill 2 dragon boats, one which we name Hope, and the other Courage. My Diva sisters inspire me every day by living these 2 attributes and helping each other to do so. I look up to so many survivors who taught me that there is a full happy life after breast cancer; and to those who continue to fight with courage. We are a gift to each other.
I was "lucky" enough to get lymphedema and to be referred to Dr. Rosenberg, who introduced me to the Dragon Divas. As an organization, we reach out to the community at large to put our mission in action, but getting the message out is a challenge.There are so many women out there that could be Divas! Having a modern website will help us to fulfill our outreach mission, to broaden our horizons and to remain connected to each other. THANK GOODNESS FOR NERDS WITH A BIG HEART! PADDLES UP FOR YOUR GENEROSITY!

2014-03-13 00:56:48 UTC
Carolyn Jacobs

I have been a Dragon Diva since the organization's inception in 2006.
It has been an amazing experience to watch this dynamic organization grow and positively influence and change so many lives...including mine. A new website would help us reach so many more people with our message of living an active life after breast cancer. We thank you
Nerdery for this fantastic opportunity.

2014-03-13 02:02:17 UTC

I have experienced the incredible expertise of the Nerdery. I believe the Nerds have the spirit of hard work and fun to make the website with the tools our Diva friends need so they can bring renewed hope to others faced with cancer. Through my friend, I've seen first-hand how the positive energy of her Diva sisters has helped her believe that a full and active life is possible after a breast cancer diagnosis. I hope you choose the Dragon Divas so they have the tools to share with others what is means to turn survivors into thrivers.

2014-03-13 05:01:24 UTC

When I was done with chemo and radiation, I still wanted to fight or have some control. My only options, that I knew about, were traditional support groups. Then I was lucky enough to learn about the Dragon Divas. It has changed my life in many ways:
- I love water. It is peaceful and challenging.
- I found an active support group that I didn't know existed.
- They understand the challenges we face
- They continue to challenge me to build my strength and confidence on the water and as a person.
Dragon Divas have given me energy and a goal.

I am not eloquent and have only given you a "grain of sand" of what the Divas mean to me.
Every day is an adventure for all of us. I hope you can help us.

2014-03-13 07:46:43 UTC

I have a friend who is a member of Dragon Diva. Her attitude toward life which, for her, carries the breast cancer challenge, is inspiration to me. The support, encouragement and energy she receives from the relationship and connection with other Dragon Divas is incredible. My sister also faced the breast cancer challenge in 1987. Good technology might have made it possible then for connections and relationships of support but wasn't available. I support strongly a professional website to connect women and their friends and families. This form of good communication has the potential to reach far and wide to offer support, encouragement and well-being of mind, body and spirit! Hope you choose Dragon Divas for this huge potential of connections for life!

2014-03-13 13:23:41 UTC
Adaire Lassonde

I have seen what a great help this organization has been to my friend and community member, Jill, as she continues her life in a happy and fulfilling way. This group of women is so supportive of each other that they bring life to each other's life. I hope this organization can be there for all the future women who need this support.

2014-03-13 14:45:23 UTC
mark Kron

When the doctor said cancer our lives changed, our roles changed . Little did I know I would be having this much fun with some of the most sincere people I've ever met. I look forward to the dragon boat season as much as my wife . It means so much to me to see all the smiles and hear the laughter from the Divas knowing what they have been through. Its like .

2014-03-13 19:13:06 UTC

My mother is a breast cancer survivor! Her experience with breast cancer was a challenging one. I do not think that she would have been able to come out of this life changing experience without her Diva Sisters. The Dragon Divas are the epitome of support, laughter, and team-building. They are more than just an organization... They are a family!

2014-03-14 00:37:02 UTC

My cancer story is like so many others: diagnosis, chemo, surgery, radiation, fear, exhaustion and the list goes on. I had completed 8 rounds of chemo and was healing from surgery and getting ready for radiation when my Dragon Diva neighbor invited me to the Diva annual fundraiser. I hadn't been going out much but thought an afternoon out for me, my husband and teenage daughter was needed, so off we went. We arrived at the event and were welcomed by these vivacious women in blue shirts. We settled into a table out of the way and watched these women, these cancer survivors, dance, laugh and carry on. I was in awe. I leaned over to my husband and said "do you think I'll ever feel like that again"? I'm happy to say, I am now one of those laughing, dancing, vivacious Dragon Divas. We need to tell our story better through our website. We need it to show other breast cancer survivors that there is a healthy, active funfilled life after a breast cancer diagnosis. Please help us tell our story!!

2014-03-14 04:10:52 UTC
Megan Kress

Over three years ago I was contacted by the Dragon Divas who were looking for a coach to further their dragon boat program. I had coached a variety of teams but never a Breast Cancer Survivor (BCS) group. What I've learned from the Dragon Divas is that the principles of sport of competition apply to all walks of life and they are not just reserved for those in the "elite athlete' category. Coaching the Dragon Divas has allowed me to be a more in-depth coach and refine my art. Today I am proud to say that I am on the coaching staff for the national dragon boat team, Team USA. That is an accomplishment that couldn't have been accomplished with out the opportunity to work with this fine organization.

The Dragon Divas give women a chance to learn the unique sport of dragon boating and in return, reap the benefits of a sport that requires core strength, aerobic capacity, and mental toughness. While the hard skills are a large part of succeeding in dragon boat racing, the intangibles of teamwork, being coachable, and putting team first are extremely valuable parts that are the difference between a paddlers and athletes. I am proud of the many, many athletes that make up the Dragon Divas.

Having the Nerdery work its media magic for this organization would mean several things. It would mean that our communications between 70+ members could be streamlined. It would mean that the Divas could be represented in the way they should be: a class-act organization of all walks of life. It would mean that the Divas could solidify their "brand" and spread their message that would allow more people to experience the benefits of time together on the water. Please consider working with this organization. The have touched lives of those beyond Breast Cancer and have the potential to touch so many more.

2014-03-14 13:15:56 UTC

Please select our group for a new web site! We are an active group of Breast Cancer Survivors living life to the fullest. One of the most unique groups in the Twin Cities. A new web site would help us "spread the word" about this awesome activity/support group and communicate more fully with each other!There are so many survivors we need to touch!

2014-03-14 13:42:31 UTC
Gayle Adair

I have been a Dragon Diva since 2009. When I was diagnosed in 2008, I called my friend Ione. She was sympathetic, paused and exclaimed, "now you can be a Dragon Diva". I had no idea what that meant but I was very excited to give it a try. Cancer doesn't just affect one person, it reaches into the entire family. The Divas have embraced my family and all who have been touched by this disease. We are a support group on and off the water, many laughs, tears and, oh yeah, paddling. From the moment you step into the "Diva World" you are swept into an instant bond of sisterhood. The diversity of our group is unparalleled, all are welcome. As a past treasurer of the organization, I recognize the need for a new website. We NEED your help to assist us in efficiently fulfilling our mission statement. Thank you for this opportunity.

2014-03-14 15:01:58 UTC
Lisa Siebenaler

The Dragon Divas are a fanominal group of powerful women driven on a quest bringing breast cancer awareness, physical support, nutrition support, mental support to the area and the state of Mn. Living in the light of life !! Rock on Divas you are an inspiration to all of us. They deserve your support to spread their love!

2014-03-14 15:58:11 UTC
Julia Ludden

The Dragon Divas help breast cancer survivors stay active, engaged, and supported by a strong and enthusiastic group of fellow women! Physical fitness, team-building, being outdoors, and engaging in a community are important elements in ANYONE's life, especially those who have been through breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. This organization is a unique and important group to support. Thanks, Divas, and thanks Nerdery!

2014-03-14 16:29:43 UTC

I am a proud Dragon Diva! I am lucky enough to serve on the Board as well as the Membership and Fundraising committees. I have been a Diva since 2008. It has been fabulous to see the team grow in numbers, strength and abilities. The support the Divas give each other is incredible. The team would benefit greatly from the strength and support of the Nerdery. Knowing that we can communicate with each other in a streamlined efficient way will help us focus on our paddling and spreading the word that there is a lot of life yet to live after a breast cancer diagnosis. Thank you!

2014-03-14 17:41:30 UTC
Ellen E

My co-worker Marige is a Dragon Diva! I have learned a lot about the amazing organization through her. She is an insirpation and so are the rest of the Dragon Divas. Their motivation and commitment to their health and well-being is amazing. You look at what they are doing and it inspires you to be a healthier, happier person and to appreciate, enjoy and to be thankful every day you have on this earth. They deserve to get the help from the Nerdery. Being able to have this website and the help from the Nerdery would not only help all the Dragon Divas but it would continue their journey in spreading awareness! They are all an inspiration and we should all be proud to know one Diva or all the Divas!!

2014-03-14 17:49:14 UTC

How did I feel when my daughter was diagnosed with breast cancer when she had a 9 year old at home? Devastated. How do I feel now that she is a Dragon Diva and living life to the fullest? Exhilarated! Please help this group spread the word that there is hope after breast cancer.

2014-03-14 19:44:44 UTC

I am a daughter of a breast cancer survivor and a friend to many who lost their lives to breast cancer. To be involved with the Dragon Divas as a supporter has helped me heal from my losses. The mission of the Dragon Divas to enhance their physical, emotional and spiritual lives creates inspiration for the supporter to also enhance their own life.
Unfortunately, even with the current website, many survivors have never heard of the Dragon Divas. Please consider the Dragon Divas create a website that will reach out to more survivors and their families.

2014-03-14 22:17:35 UTC
Mary Ann

I have found that the Divas have done so much for our daughter's attitude and well being after her bout with breast cancer. I can't say enough good things about the Divas and the exercise and comradrie that these people have because of what the Divas stand for. The competion that is involved with their dragon boat races across the world is the best thing that could be offered to breast cancer surviors.

2014-03-14 22:17:57 UTC

When we paddle, we push ourselves and extend our reach by giving another inch.

Will you help us "extend our reach" by creating an awesome website?

Our current WordPress blog, YahooGroup and Facebook Page are dinosaurs to tackle. This group of survivors needs to spring ahead with an all-inclusive option. We need your time, energy and talent so we can focus on living life to the fullest.

2014-03-15 03:08:58 UTC

I was just a boy when my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. It not only hit her but it hit the entire family pretty hard. I felt like I had lost my mom for a while and then she was introduced to the Divas. This was one of the many things that helped her. Now I not only have my old mom back, but I have a new and improved mother. She lives her life one day at a time and is the strongest person I know. She is a Dragon Diva!

2014-03-15 05:28:33 UTC

Divas are empowered for life ! Help
Them spread the love . You know the world needs all it can get !!!

2014-03-15 16:28:22 UTC

Go Divas, enjoy watching you rock on the water.

A Fan

2014-03-15 22:53:28 UTC
Mary Skrypek

A breast cancer survivors’ dragon boat team for our community was envisioned in 2005 and founded in 2006. I am proud to say that I am one of the founding members of the Dragon Divas.
Our team was formed to honor a study done in Canada which was published in 1996. This research followed a group of 20 breast cancer survivors paddling 2000 pound dragon boats in races all over the world. Prior to this study, patients who had undergone treatment for breast cancer were advised not to exercise too much, not to carry heavy objects, and to avoid repetitive motion with their arms. This research using breast cancer survivors and dragon boat racing showed that women who had undergone treatment for breast cancer could safely engage in vigorous activity. This study sent a beacon of hope out to the world of breast cancer survivors. It sent a clear message that we could be strong; we could seek a healthy life style following the diagnosis of this disease.

The Dragon Divas mission is to bring this beacon of hope to our community. We are a breast cancer survivor’s support group. Instead of meeting around a table, we meet in a dragon boat on the water. We feel the support of our teammates as we paddle side by side. We feel the support of our families and community as they watch us from shore. We breathe in fresh air. We challenge our bodies. We gain strength from each other in all aspects of our survivorship. We heal. We have fun.

Our team has continued to grow vigorously 2006. This has been accomplished by the hard persistent work of a group of dedicated, passionate, and gifted survivors. Our team members have consistently given their time and talents to meet all needs in keeping our team and her mission moving forward. This has been a total team effort.

Now we are now asking for help from the experts of the Nerdery. We need assistance and direction in creating a web site that will allow us to continue to thrive. A new website will strengthen our team connections. It will enhance our fundraising efforts. It will allow growth and easier access to our outreach programs.

The Dragon Divas are excited to be considered for this program and for all the possibilities that this partnership with these experts can bring to our mission. With the help of the Nerdery, that beacon lit in 1996 will increase its wattage many fold in our community. Hope will shine brighter on of all survivors of breast cancer as well as our families and friends.

Thank you for your wonderful work and your generosity that benefits the non profits in our region.

2014-03-15 22:57:16 UTC

You may be too young to remember the 1970s Helen Reddy song, " I am woman". It became a big song as part of the women's liberation movement. I think of the lyrics" I am strong, I am invincible, I am woman" when I contemplate how being a member of the Dragon Divas has helped me since my breast cancer diagnosis. This group is so deserving of your support in enhancing communications among its members and in the local and world wide web community.

2014-03-15 23:42:08 UTC

I discovered the Dragon Divas a few years ago and as a 19 year breast cancer survivor I had never encountered anything like this kind of support group. I went to watch the Dragon Divas paddle in a festival and said, "I want in that boat!" It was empowering to get in that boat with 20 other women who had conquered breast cancer. What a supportive, nurturing group of women! It was exhilarating! The Dragon Divas so deserve help from the Nerdery to get the message out to other breast cancer survivors that exercise and support like this will save their lives!

2014-03-16 00:32:58 UTC

I have seen my sister thrive in this wonderful group of women. She has developed a support system of other positive women who are leading active, vibrant lives after experiencing breast cancer. In addition to the emotional support, she has developed additional leadership skills in various fundraising activities and competitions. The group has also helped her develop a healthier lifestyle with exercise and nutrition. The Dragon Divas would be a wonderful candidate for help from the Nerdery to further their outreach efforts to other women.

2014-03-16 03:18:38 UTC
chris slocum

The Dragon Diva's are an amazing group of women. I have paddled with these ladies in a mixed team practice and their teamwork and dedication is inspiring! They shared stories and have an amazing capacity to reach people. I made several friends that day and look forward to spending more time with these ladies. They are truly worthy of the help the Nerdery.

2014-03-16 13:51:23 UTC

Just when you think you are adrift in a sea of emotion along comes a Dragon Diva to lend a hand. That is my story. I met Jen in a college class. What am impact she has had on me! Whenever I am doubting myself, starting to flounder, I think of her and realize that I too, can take the lead and do great things in my life.

These Diva's are a magnificent lot! Please help them to spread that is priceless to so many!

2014-03-16 17:09:18 UTC

"Help me if you can, I am feeling down. Won't you please, please help me." I am a cancer survivor; I want my life back!!!! This is a familiar comment made by cancer victims. If it were your wife, mother, sister or friend, wouldn't you do everything possible to turn "victims" into "survivors? Wouldn't you want to help replace despair with hope? Fortunately for many, a group of resilient women known as the Dragon Divas has created a life altering system of support and inspiration to those afflicted with breast cancer. Unfortunately, there are still women and men who feel like victims because of this disease. To the Nerdery, help the Divas spread the word of support, friendship and knowledge to those in need. By providing assistance with an improved website, you could possibly help to rekindle a spirit of life in mom, sister, friend......! Won't you please help me, I am tired of feeling down.

2014-03-16 18:25:11 UTC
Sally B.

My friend Betsy is active in this in Indianapolis ....she loves it. So when my friend Jen was looking for some way to be fit but mostly to pay it forward, I suggested this. So much of thriving with breast cancer (jen's phrase) is taking charge of your life and helping others. She is a leader in her group, not a surprise at all to me!
As daunting as this diagnosis can be, it was for me too, it can open doors to the power of women working together for a common goal. And that is one BIG power trip! Paddles Up!

2014-03-16 18:41:20 UTC

I came to know the Dragon Divas when my mother (Gayle) was diagnosed with breast cancer just a few years ago. The Divas immediately embraced my mother and my family. I have paddled with the Divas many times, have joined them on community service activities, and have nothing but wonderful memories with them. They are a supportive and positive group that brings incredible energy wherever they go! Having a new website would only allow them to spread their energy even further and allow future Divas and families to become more easily involved. I have only known this group for a few years but they have been one of the most positive things to happen to my family, especially for my mother.

2014-03-16 19:40:25 UTC

As one of the Dragon Diva’s supporters I’ve been able to observe the growth of the team over the years. One of the most common responses that new members have is that the Dragon Divas just are not an average support group. That realization is not just related to the fact that “support sessions” are held in Nessie, the team’s dragon boat. The difference is the attitude of the group. That attitude is borne from the belief that while they have survived breast cancer, it doesn’t define who they are. The team supports and encourages every member to grow as a person and live life to its fullest. That is what defines each member; as a person who will not accept No as an answer to whatever they want out of life. I’ve seen members grow and become much more confident in themselves from the opportunities provided to them by the team. The team provides such a positive environment in so many ways that I feel it’s vital that their message and the opportunities the team provides gets spread to as many survivors as possible. A modern, up to date, and intuitive web site will help with that aspect of their mission.

2014-03-16 19:45:03 UTC

As a member of the dragon boat race committee for the Dragon Festival that is held at Lake Phalen in St. Paul each year. I can confidently state that the team has been one of the most enjoyable teams to work with. They have won our Spirit award numerous times, which is voted upon by the other teams at the festival. I’ve heard nothing but positive comments from the teams that race with them at our festival. At their team tent they not only freely give out paddling advise to other teams, but take the time to spread the word on early detection to anyone who is interested. I feel that by supporting them with providing a new web site for their use will definitely provide a positive service to the community.

2014-03-16 20:09:33 UTC
Sandra Tazelaar

As a member of the community as well as a psychotherapist specializing in oncology I have witnessed first hand the empowerment and strength demonstrated by the Dragon Divas. This group of energetic women are just the inspiration that everyone benefits from especially families that are affected by cancer--there is a "can do" attitude that shifts the focus from a body with cancer to a body that can be strong, able and fit. The wider community would benefit from this amazing group demonstrating their mission and passion through a state-of-the-art website.

2014-03-16 21:06:25 UTC
A Diva Spouse

The unfilled need for an organization like the Dragon Divas is demonstrated by the amazing growth of the organization, from barely one boat crew to more than three in just a few short years. My own Dragon Diva found -- and provides -- the kind of support and understanding which only another breast cancer survivor can provide. I've seen her grow stronger and more at peace with her own diagnosis and more confident that she can help others with theirs.

In many ways, cancer is as much an emotional disease as it is a physical one; the medical community is skilled at treating the physical part, but seriously lacking the ability to deal with the emotional side. The Dragon Divas do a great job of filling this void, helping breast cancer survivors, and non-survivors, cope more successfully with their cancer experience. Through the Dragon Divas, these women and their loved ones learn that, while they might not be able to control whether cancer takes their lives, they can make sure that cancer doesn't ruin them.

2014-03-16 23:21:01 UTC
François Bédard

My wife Judith is a Dragon Diva, and I am a proud Divo. I had the unique opportunity to attend the 2010 Peterborough Dragon Boat Festival where some 2000 breast cancer survivors from all over the world participated in a friendly competition. In August 2013, I was invited by the Dragon Divas to participate in two races during the Lake Superior Dragon Boat Festival. What a great experience! As an unconditional fan of the Minneapolis/St Paul Dragon Divas, I will continue to support them in the coming years. To be selected to win the free website retooling will no doubt help the Dragon Divas in their outreach mission and make them more visible in the community. I wish you the best in this contest.

2014-03-17 00:12:10 UTC
Brian Adair

A website!
A website!
My kingdom for a website!
(With apologies to Bill Shakespeare)

To say our lives changed after my wife's diagnosis in 2008 would be an understatement. We've experienced the good, the bad and the bizarre. We've also been privileged to experience the inspirational, the uplifting and the courageous. That package comes in the form of women calling themselves Dragon Divas.
Their energy and spirit is infectious. Their drive and determination is nothing short of awe-inspiring. And their caring for each other and friendships almost leaves one envious.
They reach out to all who have been touched by this disease, and "a 'lil help" with a website would be a wonderful gift. Trust me, they'd put it to good use!
Paddles up,'re the best!!!

2014-03-17 01:29:24 UTC

I have been very blessed over the past year to be the Massage Therapist to a few ladies on the Dragon Divas. They are amazing women and are great examples that there is life after breast cancer. The Dragon Divas symbolize hope and strength in a very vulnerable time in life. I can only wish that their message and the support for the Dragon Divas continues to grow. I love you ladies and be blessed!

2014-03-17 01:48:05 UTC
Tina Thompson

I walked in the Susan G Komen 3-Day 60 mile walk about a year and a half. Through joining the Cancervive team, I met Jen T and she was such an inspiration. She so courageously shared her breast cancer journey and spoke about the Dragon Divas. I was impressed and intrigued about how the Dragon Divas trained and supported each other. What a beautiful group of strong, brave, and inspirational women.

2014-03-17 02:42:21 UTC
Linda Ruecker

As Treasurer of the Dragon Divas since January 2013, it's been my privilege to watch our organization grow beyond our expectations. We've received donations from members, friends, family, and a growing network of business and foundation partners as we strengthen our financial base. We have even benefitted from a wedding-day request of a Diva Daughter, for donations in lieu of wedding gifts! I am amazed and gratified by the generosity that's been shown to our group. Now we are hoping for another donation - not of money, but skills and expertise, as we look to The Nerdery for the technical assistance that will help us continue to grow. Please help us keep our boat afloat!

2014-03-17 14:34:28 UTC

My sister Gayle is a breast cancer survisor and a member of the Dragon Divas. After the emotional roller coaster of her being diagnosed she told me she was invited to be a Dragon Diva. The inspiration, support and strenth from this group touches her every day. This fabulous group of women deserve an upscale website.

2014-03-17 03:31:21 UTC

This will be my 6th year as a Dragon Diva. When you hear those three words, "You have cancer", your life instantly changes. I was so focused on my chemo treatments then surgeries. When that part was over, I thought, "Now what?" I went thru my days almost consumed by the fear that the cancer was going to return. I went to a few traditional support groups and decided it wasn't for me. Then I was introduced to the Dragon Divas. To say that the group changed my life is an understatement! I instantly felt the vitality, the comeraderie, the support in such an amazing way!! I so love being with this group on and off the water, everyone knew exactly what I was feeling. I don't know where I'd be if I hadn't found the Divas. I want other women to feel what I've felt being part of this group. Please, Nerdery, help us continue to spread our mission to reach more women like me.

2014-03-17 04:37:18 UTC
Terri Schultz, Dragon Diva Chair

After my breast cancer treatments, I wanted to change my life but wasn't sure how. A couple of friends invited me to a Dragon Diva practice. I went to watch but ended up on the dragon boat. I have loved it ever since. I found a new activity that continuously motivates me to improve my fitness and a group of wonderful new friends. This group has given me so much. As chair I am so inspired by our membership. The energy, support, and determination of the Dragon Divas to make more tomorrows drives me to help our organization in anyway I can. I hope you will consider us for an new enhanced website. We praise you loudly!

2014-03-17 05:49:52 UTC

I was only six years old when my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. I remember being really scared. A few years ago my mom found the Dragon Divas and since then she’s become the strongest I’ve ever seen her. The Divas have always been inviting and I love going to festivals with my mom to watch her and the Divas paddle. The Divas are a great group of women who are taking a fight against breast cancer. GO DIVAS!!!!!!

2014-03-17 13:15:20 UTC
Kathy Jordan

I have been a Dragon Diva for the past 5 years and now have the privilege of being a board member. One of my favorite quotes is "There are moments when troubles enter our lives and we can do nothing to avoid them. But they are there for a reason. Only when we have overcome them will we understand why they were there" The troubles I had fighting breast cancer were so small in comparison to the strength, friendship, support, physical achievements I never believed possible and just plain old fun that I continue to received from my diva sisters.

2014-03-17 13:54:16 UTC
Diane Ogren MD

I have many patients who are Dragon Divas. I think this group is one of the best support groups I have seen for women with breast cancer. They not only understand what each is going through and can commiserate, but they take part in an empowering experience together. It is fabulous to watch them compete and have so much fun together. It is also fantastic exercise! I hope they can continue to grow so more woman can take part in this experience.

2014-03-17 15:35:04 UTC
Gary Edelburg

I have been involved with the work that Jennifer Thorup has done for the Breast Cancer program at Virginia Piper and her work is inspiring to every one that touches the process. If anyone needs a reason to support this site . . . Just talk to Jennifer for 5 minutes!

2014-03-17 16:54:31 UTC

I am still in treatment for breast cancer, but I'm already looking forward to joining the Divas this summer. I connected with them through a fellow yoga teacher who is a survivor and Diva, and just meeting some of these women has helped give me hope that I won't just survive, I will thrive. When I first heard of them I went looking online for info about the group, but I didn't get too far; they definitely need a better online presence to keep spreading their message of strength and sisterhood. Go Divas!

2014-03-17 16:59:00 UTC

The Dragon Divas have been a Godsend for me in two ways. First, they provide an active, loving support group of persons that know exactly what one goes through in dealing with breast cancer. Second, they provide a dynamic athletic activity that promotes self-confidence and restores physical strength and well being.

2014-03-17 17:19:09 UTC

One of the strongest points of the Dragon Divas is the person-to-person contact with and between members. The modern technology of social media provides the perfect foundation for what the Divas do best. When it is well implemented as outlined above in the request, this kind of interchange will be an even more spectacular way of supporting the caring and courageous Divas. This can be the most useful type of social media -- the ability to reach for and find what you need when you need it and from whom you need it. Arriba Divas!!

2014-03-17 17:50:18 UTC
Yoga Meister

As part of their training, a number of the Divas come to a Yoga class that I provide for them as a volunteer. They fit the Yoga goal very well. That is, they participate fully in the physical part of the class, the postures and stretches; and they are fully involved in the mental/spiritual/emotional aspects that set Yoga apart from the usual exercise class. The Divas are ideal Yoga participants. They combine both inner and outer consciousness to overcome the detours that life presents to them.

2014-03-17 21:01:01 UTC
Ann Mikiska

What a great group! Breast cancer survivors do more than just survive with this group. They bond and grow and share with each other. I went to a friends and family event and loved all the positive energy. Please help them!

2014-03-17 20:55:59 UTC

After reading through the many wonderful and heartfelt testimonials to the Divas its hard to find words that have not already been used. They are truly an inspirational group of women committed to the idea that having breast cancer does not mean you cannot also lead a full and active life. You should see these ladies paddle!

However, it is their commitment to outreach and education that makes this group unique. Unquestionably the Divas efforts to connect with other cancer survivors would be greatly enhanced by an innovative and up-to-date web presence. This would be especially true in attracting younger cancer survivors to meetings and educational presentations. If they turn into paddlers, all the better.

This group is special and by awarding them a new web site, you would be helping them to help other breast cancer survivors lead fuller and healthier lives.

2014-03-17 21:07:53 UTC

My mom is a Dragon Diva and it is great to see her racing with all of the women who have survived cancer. Please help the Divas with a website so that they can reach out to even more women to show them how strong they can be after cancer and what a great role model for their children they are.

2014-03-18 04:33:55 UTC

My aunt Julie is a breast cancer survivor and being part of the Dragon Divas makes her smile. That's testimony enough, in my book, that they deserve a new website!

2014-03-17 22:50:15 UTC
Jen Thorup

I was 37 years old when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was a single mom to a then-six-year-old son whose only experience with cancer was that of my niece who courageously fought a three-year battle against Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, but passed away. I felt isolated in my diagnosis, unable initially to find others like me, and as I endured surgeries and chemo, I found it difficult to imagine that life would ever feel anything near “normal” again. I fought desperately to regain strength and vitality; somewhat in defiance of the “betrayal” of my own body, but mostly to show my young son that “mommy was okay” and we were going to get through this. When we’re told we have breast cancer, we enlist everything within our power to fight it; the best surgeons and oncologists, the best medicine science has to offer. When we complete treatment and it’s time to return to “living,” it can feel overwhelming to be “on our own” and it can be terrifying to feel that we’re no longer actively fighting. We find ourselves grateful to be alive, yet unsure how to fully embrace it and move forward as survivors. The Dragon Divas, at their very core, exemplify how to thrive as survivors…how to embrace life and live “out loud.” We graciously welcome each other and fiercely support one another on our journeys; as only one who has traveled that very path can do.

When a friend first recommended I look up the local breast cancer survivor team, I scoured the internet but couldn’t find any such team. A full year later I was fortunate enough to stumble upon them at a parade and, being able to identify them by name, was able finally to connect with the Dragon Divas.

Today as a six-year survivor, member of the Dragon Diva Board and Training Crew, and as a member who also helps coordinate and promote Dragon Diva outreach events, I’m so excited to share our message of hope and courage with others. And I’m so proud to show my now 12-year-old son how healthy and strong I am; physically, emotionally, and spiritually, thanks to our wonderful family of Divas. Thanks so much for this unique opportunity you offer non-profits and please consider helping give us the tools we need so others diagnosed with breast cancer can find the Dragon Divas and their own path to survivorship. We praise you loudly!

2014-03-17 23:14:47 UTC
Katie C.

The Dragon Divas was a group that I was aware of before I was diagnosed with breast cancer but since I was not "eligible" I didn't think much of it although I thought the idea of a boat full of women who were all breast cancer survivors sounded awesome. After I was diagnosed and had finished with my treatment I remembered this group and set out to find more information about possibly joining. I will tell you it was not easy finding them through my internet searches. I did eventually hook up with them and I am now a proud member of the Dragon Divas and I am loving every minute with these awe inspiring women. If you could help in creating a better website presence that would make it easier for other women who are looking for support and a way to become strong and regain control over their health that would be fabulous! This group is full of women who are all different and unique but share one bond and that is of being a breast cancer survivor. If you can make it easier for just one woman who also shares this bond to find this group it would be wonderful, it might even be life changing. Thanks for considering our group.

2014-03-18 00:04:39 UTC
Becky Loehr

My sister-in-law, Jen is a Dragon Boat team member, board member and Training crew stern. I have heard Jen talk about this wonderful group of women and how much she enjoys being a part of this team. I feel it would only be beneficial for this non-profit organization to have a website so others can also benefit. I know Jen has gained so much support from this group and truly enjoys having such a positive control over her life. It has allowed her to deal with the diagnosis of breast cancer in a hopeful, strong, and positive way. Thank you to Jen's Diva sisters for being there for her and allowing her to offer her hope and support to others. This type of group must have strong bonds having survived such a devastating diagnosis. I lost my sister to breast cancer at the age of 54, only 6 months after she was diagnosed. The key here it to promote early detection whether it be something as simple as teaching self breast exams at an early age or providing more information about how diet and exercise can influence your chance of getting cancer or surviving cancer. What a better way to become physically active and have fun doing it. I am very proud of Jen for the proactive role she has taken as a breast cancer survivor. I don't think there is anything more important than finding someone who has experienced cancer and is willing to share with others who may just be starting the journey.

2014-03-18 00:06:56 UTC
Carl Kron

As a son of a Breast Cancer survivor and Dragon Diva I am very happy to see the strength and courage my mother has after fighting Breast Cancer over 5 years ago. When i heard the news as an 8th grader I was not really sure how to handle it. My mother was devastated at first and was able to hide it well for my well being. By the time I had heard about the Dragon Divas my mother was already a member and happier than ever knowing she had people that beat the odds by her side. A few years ago my family went down to Fort Dodge Iowa. I, and many other children were able to race a dragon boat our selves. This gave us a taste of the strength you need to perform in these races, not only that but to do it while undergoing chemotherapy, to me, is simply incomprehensible. At that event and almost every other after, the Dragon Divas were awarded the spirit trophy from dozens of other teams that voted. Through this small but quickly growing organization i have gained numerous friends. Thank you for considering the Dragon Divas and every family will be truly great full if you choose us.

2014-03-18 00:20:39 UTC
Amy S

This organization has been a life saver for so many of us. The group is so supportive, always emphasizing what is possible and providing incredible role models for us. The importance of exercise cannot be over emphasized as a critical component to maintaining good health, especially after a diagnosis of cancer. The ability to participate in a competitive team sport, for the first time for many of us, gives us an important sense of control and strength. I have appreciated all of the support and fun during my recovery. Thank you Divas!

2014-03-18 00:29:29 UTC
Pete F

The Dragon Divas are a truly unique, and deeply inspiring group!
They really practice what they preach about a full and active life, yet are warmly compassionate and wonderfully supportive. I wholeheartedly echo the words below: "...can't even begin to describe what belonging to this organization has done for my physical, spiritual and mental health"! Improved cohesion of the group's technologies would go a long way to futher enabling the mission, and the group could really benefit from the expertise that the Nerdery brings to the table!

2014-03-18 00:45:27 UTC
Diva fan and supporter

To the Nerdery: Many of us have witnessed first-hand the remarkable energy of the Dragon Divas. I really hope it works out that you can help with their website! -A Diva fan and supporter

2014-03-18 01:32:31 UTC
Craig Loehr

I am so proud of my little sister Jen Thorup you can not imagine. She has fought her way through many difficult diagnoses as you all have in this wonderful group. Hopefully the computer guys will design a web page that will get your message out to all. I know Jen is proud of you all and the support that you give each other.

2014-03-18 02:15:24 UTC

The Dragon Divas are a remarkable group of breast cancer survivors who support each other through the various and on-going trials of disease and recovery. I have been with the Divas since the beginning and watched the organization grow from a handful of members to over 60+ women now. As we continue to add to the membership, more and more communication between members becomes so important. Our internal technology as well as our external is way out-dated and cumbersome. I can't imagine how many more women in the T.C.s would benefit from an organization like the Dragon Divas. But to make that happen, we need the help of the Nerdery. Please, please help the Dragon Divas! Someone you know might need this group some day ... and a new cool website just might attract a woman (or man) struggling with a diagnosis of breast cancer and lead them to the Dragon Divas who will assist them in their fight with the disease. Please, please, choose the Divas to help with their technology challenges!! We will sing your praises loudly!!

2014-03-18 02:40:13 UTC

I'll never forget my first time on the boat with the Divas. I was done with surgery, chemo and radiation but fighting that fatigue and weakness that makes you wonder if you' ll ever be normal again. The Divas assured me it was ok to stop paddling any time if necessary. It wasn't long before I had to stop and take a breather. The boat continued to SURGE FORWARD strongly. It made me feel like the whole group had my back. It gave me hope to see how energetic, joyous and physically strong these women had become. I knew I could move forward again. When we stopped to rest, for a minute no one said anything. I was thinking about how healing and peaceful the water felt, when a Diva sighed and verbalized this same thought. Then lots of happy chatter began. That was just the beginning.... The Divas offer unique opportunities to women at a critical point in their lives. Nerdery please help us with your expertise to get the word out so more survivors can thrive!

2014-03-18 03:07:51 UTC
Sarah Frakes

My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in March of 2011. It has been a roller-coaster of a journey to say the least. Whenever I hear of another parent, or grandparent, sibling, aunt, uncle or co-worker getting diagnosed with cancer I always empathize with the very difficult path they are about to walk with their loved one, but I make sure to say that there will be many blessings along the way. In my mom's journey, I truly believe that the Dragon Divas has been the biggest blessing. Through the Dragon Divas my mom has found a group of true SURVIVORS! A group of women (and men) that know exactly what she has been through; physically, emotionally, mentally, the whole gamete. She found a group of women to exercise with, socialize with, and compete with. She found a true group of supporters and friends and I couldn't ask for a better gift for my mom (it is extremely emotional typing this). We found out about the Dragon Divas through a physician that I was actually seeing that heard I was doing the Susan G. Komen 3-day 60-mile walk for breast cancer. She was so kind to give me a brochure to share with my mom and give me a little insight into what the group did for her recovery. But I can't help but think of all the survivors out there that don't happen to run into someone that can introduce their loved one to the Dragon Divas. I believe a great website is vital to this group being able to grow and spread their wings throughout the Twin Cities, helping even more survivors cope and actually flourish after having been told devastating news. Please help them grow their internet presence. My wish for the Dragon Divas is a website as beautiful and fitting as each and every one of their giant hearts.

2014-03-18 03:13:26 UTC
Monica Ibarra Wylie

I am fortunate to have my BFF a member of the Dragon Diva's St. Paul. I think back to the late 80's when we first met in the U of MN dorm. Never in my wildest dreams did I consider the women we would become. To me, Jen is my mirror-she is the reflection of the woman I hoped to become and find myself to be. Her courage, inspiration and drive are a model for ALL women. I never knew or never took the time to consider what I had accomplished through the last two decades until Jen brought them to my attention...continually assists me to see the sunny side of any situation, is readily available with clarity and candor most of all she has continually been my staunch supporter in whatever I do...for me MS has been my teacher, and I would like to think that BC has done the same for her. Together and alone (although we are never alone-or at least she is not because she is rarely far from my thoughts) we are warriors. I recall when she first told me about joining the DD team I asked if I could join too. You see, I do not see Jen as a BC victim rather I see her as a champion for self empowerment. Sheepishly she tells me an a quieted tone, is just for BC survivors. As much as I would ADORE to come and cheer her on the competitions are held in the hot long days of summer-and my MS will not permit me (at this time) to be out in the heat. Selfishly, I believe with a new-up to date-modern website the DD St Paul can post their meets where I can share in the teams victories from the cool temps of my home. Where I (with my two daughters) can cheer an watch my beautiful friend, my confidant continue to reach forward and continue to achieve in whatever she chooses...pushing her body to its limits and find strength within her to stay strong. <3

2014-03-18 03:15:01 UTC
Carolyn JO

I was diagnosed six months after my husband died. We were living in Montana at the time, but our families were in Minnesota. I came back to Minnesota to stay with my daughters while having surgery and chemo at the U of MN Masonic Cancer Center. I decided to move back to MInnesota after treatment to be with my parents and children. Not knowing how much future I had meant I needed to spend as much time as I could with family. It was through my lymphedema doctor, who is also a Dragon Diva, that I learned about the paddling team. I was interested in having a support group besides family, but wanted it to involve activity. The St. Paul Dragon Divas have filled such a space in my life. 2014 will be my seventh year with the Divas. I have served as a Crew Leader for the Equipment Crew. It is our job to be sure all of our equipment - the boat, the life jackets, paddles and extras - are in top shape. I have served three years on the board, serving as chair person this past year. The Divas are a group of positive, active women living life to the fullest. An important part of our support of one another is communication through our website. We need a site that is user friendly and allows us to communicate well with one another and also with the public. It is important to our mission to offer education and encouragement to other cancer survivors and to the public at large. We are eager to show the good life that can come after a cancer diagnosis. It is important to communicate about meetings and what our different "crews" accomplish; it is important to inform the public about educational opportunities for good health that we can offer. It is important to be there for team members that are experiencing recurrence. Three Divas have passed away since I have been on board. We were able to schedule rides and meals to help those Divas and their families during those stressful times. What we have currently does not satisfy our needs at this time, and it would be difficult to handle the cost of building a website. You can be sure that the St. Paul Dragon Divas will be extremely appreciative if Nerdery would build us a website. You can be sure that we would make use of it in the best way possible to benefit our group and to benefit all cancer survivors! Thank you for your consideration!

2014-03-18 03:40:08 UTC
Tim Obrecht

Dragon Divas is an incredible group of ladies who truly deserve a website which can represent their spirit. My future mother-in-law has been transformed by this group of survivors. She works out with the Divas, competes in events, and, most importantly, has built friendships with other women who understand what she has gone through battling breast cancer. Please consider Dragon Divas as a prime candidate for a website revamp that will help expand their trans-formative mission.

2014-03-18 03:55:17 UTC
Jillian Loehr

My aunt Jen Thorup is a Dragon Diva and breast cancer survivor. She is an inspiration to many with her strength, courage and upbeat attitude. Dragon Divas have been a supportive group emotionally and physically for her. It's always so exciting to hear new stories about her Dragon Diva team. I feel a website would benefit this group of wonderful women in so many ways to help others with prevention and diagnosis of breast cancer.

2014-03-18 03:56:45 UTC
Cindi Fitch

I have been a member of the Dragon Divas for three years, and have been truly blessed by such a wonderful, warm, loving, vibrant group of breast cancer survivors. Cancer can't stop us from doing ANYTHING...except creating a new, modern updated website! We appreciate your expertise and knowledge, and we really need your help. Thank you for this opportunity to share our organization and our needs with you.

2014-03-18 03:59:13 UTC
Matt Frakes

Three years ago my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. My family did everything we could to help my mom in any way. We strived to understand what my mom was going through but it was nothing any of us could relate to. We did fundraisers and my sister and I did the Susan g komen 3 day walk to raise money and meet other people dealing with this disease. My mom was meeting a lot of people with her disease and learning of different support groups. she found the dragon divas and i saw a noticeable change in her mood and energy level. She found an enjoyable way to excercise and made new friends who had been through the same experience as her. She's always excited to participate in the races and equally excited to just practice with her friends. My mom is healthy and happy again. The dragon divas provide a fun and healthy atmosphere for women and their families to share their experiences. This is an unbelieveable group of ladies that is amazingly welcoming. They deserve a new site not only to help them communicate better with each other but to raise awareness to other women like my mother that want to be active, meet friends, and share their with each other the problems and experiences that only they really understand. They have helped my mom in many ways and I know they will help countless others. Please help them with a new website so they can spread their help to other women like my mother.

2014-03-18 04:59:31 UTC

This is an absolutely remarkable group of woman and I am so proud to be the daughter of one of the founding members. There is an energy in this group that is intoxicating. Anybody who has been blessed to have a Diva in their life or to simply witness this group of woman in action will speak to the fact that there is something truly special happening when they are together. They find hope, joy, strength and healing in one another and share this with every person they encounter, breast cancer or not. It is more than a support group of woman paddling on the water and they deserve any and all of the help you can provide them.

2014-03-18 15:25:31 UTC
Keith Morioka

My wife's aunt is part if the Dragon Diva's and a breast cancer survivor. The divas were a big part in helping in the recovery process, giving her support that many if us can't, because we aren't in the same situation. The divas are awesome in all they do and they deserve a new website so more survivors can be reached and get the support they need.

2014-03-18 18:00:17 UTC

A friend of mine is a breast cancer survivor and is involved with the Dragon Divas. She has fought hard in life and for herself and others. Please keep the fight alive!

2014-03-18 19:12:55 UTC

Helping the Dragon Divas get the word out with a new website seems like a "no-brainer". I have been in awe of my friend Jen, watching her courageously battle breast cancer and not only win, but come out the other side with a passion for life and appreciation for all things that is so amazing, it is inspiring. Please give the Dragon Divas the opportunity to share their message on the web and not only help others but save lives!

2014-03-18 19:15:37 UTC

My sister is a survivor of breast cancer. When she heard about the Divas and joined the organization it helped her to become more active and has also given her more support because they have been there and know what she is going through. The Divas really helped her get out and start enjoying life again.

2014-03-18 19:54:54 UTC

Thank you for this opportunity to express my thoughts...I believe the D-D's of Saint Paul represent a fine support and social group for cancer survivor. What a time these folks have,fun and fellowship. A modern web page would only increase the visibility to others...

2014-03-18 19:57:29 UTC

My sister is a breast cancer survivor and when she told me she was joining Dragon Divas, I thought that was the best thing that she could have done. The Divas are pretty awesome! Their support is amazing, they have been through it and I believe are they have made my sister even stronger being there for her. Go Divas!!!

2014-03-18 19:58:39 UTC
Greg Mergens

This is a wonderful group of women who through their dragon boat racing at trying to kick breast cancer's butt! Current fund raising is done word of mouth and shared by each Diva. A website would accomplish so much more!

2014-03-18 22:26:52 UTC
john age 8

my auntie has friends called dragon divas and they are neat and fun also they get to paddle a boat called Nessie and they get to get trophys when they win . and they like me too and my brother and cousins.

2014-03-18 22:59:02 UTC

This is such an amazing and inspiring group! and they deserve the extra attention a new website would provide.

2014-03-18 23:59:42 UTC

This group of amazing women and cancer survivors called the Dragon Divas is truly inspirational. Watching my friend, Jen, courageously battle through breast cancer while parenting her young son was one of the most remarkable things I have witnessed. Those around her were (and continue to be) blessed by her positive attitude, determination and spirit. Help this wonderful group of women share their message of support and hope with a new website!

2014-03-19 00:22:36 UTC

I had the pleasure of paddling with the Divas at a dragon boat camp in Florida last year. They were inspirational in the way they paddled and the way they treated everyone on their team and those of us lucky enough to be in their boat for the week. The kindness they display on and off the water made for an unforgettable experience and created lasting friendships. They work hard on the water and compete off the water against the disease like no others. They give of themselves to each other and people they just meet. I’ve been on the receiving end of amazing pot luck dinners both at camp and at competitions. Most importantly, they remind us of what life would be like if we all value every day we are given. Creating a website for them would no doubt be a rewarding experience knowing the kind of kindness they share with the people in their lives and the kind of joy they create even given their struggles.

2014-03-19 03:27:47 UTC

My mother is a survivor of breast cancer and I'm so glad she found this amazing group of women to get through it with. All of these woman are so remarkable for beating cancer and still having such positive attitudes. It's truly inspiring. I don't know anyone more deserving of a website than the Dragon Divas, everyone who has overcome cancer should have the opportunity to be part of this loving group of women.

2014-03-19 04:57:05 UTC

My mother is a breast cancer survivor and Dragon Divas has helped her so much, all the women are strong & fierce!

2014-03-19 12:56:32 UTC

Technology can provide a path to learn and challenge...Dragon Divas have provided many paths forward for all involved to choose their own way to connect. My plea to the nerdy is to help provide the information processes to allow more women and the people in their lives to Show strength through compassion and athletics.

2014-03-19 17:42:34 UTC
Greg Blomker ADBA Assosiate

I have been associated with dragon boating for over 12 years. I have paddled for teams, helped work the events and called races. In that time I have seen the joy in winning races and sadness after a loss. Exhaustion from racing and the work involved. we have fought heat and cold, frustration and even anger. The hammer of all this forges a tightly knit community. when the breast cancer teams came into being I saw the competitive nature that I saw in other teams but I also saw something that I'd never seen before, triumph. Not just in a victory on the water but with spirit, courage, determination and outright stubbornness not to let any disadvantages dictate what they can and can't do. To these ladies setbacks do not exist, only another item on the list to eventually overcome. Sometimes they don't. sometimes the losses are great. through this the Diva's come back to lake with a smile and a can do attitude. The Diva's have inspired me, a not so old man with a bad back, to dig a little harder because my problems are something to defeat not accept. I'm proud everyday that I get to work with them.

2014-03-19 18:16:34 UTC
Amber Sperling

I was privileged to meet some of the Dragon Divas while at a dragon boat camp in Florida last year. As a paddler, Dragon Boat Barrie board member and coach of our local Barrie Ribbons of Hope Breast Cancer Dragon Boat team I can appreciate the importance of a well run website. Teams rely upon technology to stay organized, disseminate information to members and post accomplishments. The Dragon Divas are an inspiring team and a website would enable them to share their dreams, struggles and accomplishments with the world which not only enriches their experience as a team, but also the rest of the world who could have access to their stories. A strong website also creates an easily accessible entrance into their world for others who are touched by breast cancer.

2014-03-19 18:48:32 UTC
Valerie Nicolaus

I am the older sister of a Dragon Boat Diva. I am so proud of Jenny. She is my hero! A few years ago, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She never once let it get her down. She knew what she had to do, and she stepped up to the plate, and didn't ever look back. I never heard her ask, why me? In fact it was me who asked, why her and not me. I am so grateful for the Dragon Boat organization. When we talk about her races, her face just lights up. I see the joy she feels by being a member. To be involved with other women like her is like no other bond. I have seen her grow physically, mentally, and emotionally. Keep up the good work Divas! I hope you get your web site up and running. You are an amazing group of women. Best of luck to you all and special love to Jenny. Always Val

2014-03-20 16:16:25 UTC

It's unfortunate that it took my friend Jen a year and a "happy accident" to find this group that has contributed so greatly to her health and well-being! I hope and pray that no one else will have to go it alone that long! Help the Dragon Divas become more visible to their sister survivors!!!

2014-03-20 21:12:54 UTC

This a wonderful group that really does so much amazing work. Pleasae support them any way that you can!

2014-03-21 02:08:44 UTC

As a survivor of cervical cancer, and now breast cancer, I can say that that life does take you down paths that you never expected you would have to go - but fortunately along my path I learned about the amazing group of women that I am now a part of. Just saying the words "I am a Dragon Diva" puts a smile on my face, and feels so very empowering. I love spending time on the water with my Diva sisters paddling hard, sweating up a storm, and feeling our beloved boat Nessie surge ahead -- we are all in the same boat, surviving breast cancer, and living life to the fullest. Having a new website would greatly improve our ability to share our organization's mission, our stories, and our message that there is life after breast cancer. I hope that we will be fortunate enough to be a recipient of the web design services being offered by the Nerdery to nonprofits like ours!

2014-03-21 12:32:24 UTC

I have a dear friend who is part of the Dragon Diva's (Jen Thorup), having had a mother, aunt, grandmother all diagnosed with breast cancer in thier lives I see what a difference something like Dragon Diva's would have done for them. It is critical that we have organization's like this that show women of all kinds daily inspiration and hope. People need to know that things might seem extreme but as my favorite author would say "This to shall pass". When I see Jen so excited to be part of a team and really proud of what they stand for it is not only inspiring but also really stands for something that can help women all over. I have not been diagnosed with Breast Cancer (yet), but given my family history it seems only a matter of time. I use Jen's experience with her team mates and friends to know that it will be ok. That people care and I would not be alone. Thank you to the Dragon Diva's for showing my friend such care and inspiration in her battle and giving me hope if someday mine comes to pass. God Bless.

2014-03-21 13:59:51 UTC

Oh.....where to start about the Divas...actually, once you start boasting about each one of the ladies, their families and the organization, one cannot stop *smiling* My "sissy" Gayle is a SURVIVOR!! and my husband and I have met countless other survivors who have touched not only our lives, but many many others. What a wonderful team and support group for each other, families and what a testimony! God knew what he was doing when he formed this group! One cannot thank them enough for what they do for each other and every other person and family who has come into touch with them! And, you have never had a workout until you've paddled with a Diva! Bless you all and thank you for your continued support and efforts to bring a cure to this disease and for each Diva and their healing power they have over each person who has encountered this disease and for the extended arms of love they place around everyone they encounter! PADDLES UP and love you guys!

The Troy Kalla Family

Our Mission

The mission of the Dragon Divas is to demonstrate that a full and active life is possible following the diagnosis of breast cancer. The organization provides an opportunity for members to connect with other breast cancer survivors in a supportive environment to enhance their physical, emotional, and spiritual health. The Dragon Divas are dedicated to promoting the early detection of breast cancer and raising awareness in the community of the importance of physical fitness in fighting this disease. Through our message and action, the Dragon Divas honor the memory of those who have died from the disease and the blessings they have bestowed on our survivorship.