Cindy Greenwood and her dragon boat cohorts paddled along the Ashley River during a typical Tuesday night practice. As I took photos and motored alongside their 48-foot boat, Sterling Hannah, a Charleston Dragonboat founder and my skipper for the evening, looked at Cindy’s boat, bursting with energy and hearty laughs; brimming with pink shirts, pearls and smiles. Sterling turned to me and said, “All of the women in that boat are cancer survivors. One woman just had chemotherapy today.”
This night was particularly gorgeous, as a storm passed right before practice began. The team paddled under a cloudy sky that gradually gave way to a brilliant sunset. Oprah calls them “A-ha” moments, I prefer “Dear Diary” moments, but let me assure you, you would have had your own had you been on the water that night. Especially if you, like I, were lucky enough to know Cindy, or any other of those spectacular women’s stories.
Anyone who knows Cindy Greenwood will tell you about her beautiful smile, her sweet nature, her artistic side, her willingness to jump in and help. They will tell you she is a fighter, a woman who looked a 2003 breast cancer diagnosis in the face, beat it, and moved on. As part of her treatment, Cindy underwent a modified radical mastectomy, which is a complete removal of the affected breast. She opted against reconstructive surgery, fearing the process would stand in the way of her active lifestyle.
Cindy beat cancer while living in Ohio but soon migrated to Charleston with her husband for some Southern living. She joined St. Matthews Lutheran Church, where she would one day wear a pink ribbon: a symbol of her survival and perseverance. The ribbon was recognized by a member of the church who suggested Cindy join Dragonboat Charleston, a decision that would change her life forever.
Cindy certainly knows a thing or two about conquering challenges, yet one minor challenge still stood in her way. She, like most women who have undergone mastectomies, face unique bra fitting issues. Cindy came to our boutique for a personal fitting session with owner Ruth Brennan, in hopes her fit issues would be fixed. Ruth is extremely knowledgeable, a mastectomy bra fitting expert. Not only does she draw experience from fitting women at the store, but also from her former career as a nurse. Cindy and Ruth’s fitting session went so well, that Cindy left with happy tears in her eyes. It might be fair to say she has officially overcome her bra fitting obstacles.
Stay tuned for tales from the fitting room and learn how Cindy “got even” with Ruth. Call 843-577-0999 to make your own mastectomy bra fitting appointment with Ruth.
*Charleston Dragonboat promotes physical and mental wellness among cancer survivors and their community through dragon boating. Learn more and join the fun: come one, come all!