BREAST cancer survivors and professionals from St Helens and Whiston Hospitals picked up their paddles for an event at Liverpool's waterfront.

The group came together for a special 'Dragon Boat Taster Day' hosted by the breast cancer survivors charity Dragon Boat team - Pool of Life.

The day, organised by Whiston and St Helens Hospitals' patient liaison officer and Pool of Life member Julie Lynan as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, saw the group join many friends and family and a team of medical professionals from the NHS trust, many of whom had treated members of Pool of Life.

It was also a historic day for Pool of Life as 55-year-old Ian Virtue became the first male breast cancer survivor to join the group as they hit the water in Liverpool on Sunday, October 28.

Ian said: "I was diagnosed earlier this year and has since undergone a double mastectomy. It's important that we raise awareness that this disease not only affects women but also men too."

Julie has been fundraising during October as part of her Jules Pink Army campaign, to provide a free specialist post surgery bra and drain bag for ladies facing a Mastectomy or Reconstruction.

If you would like to donate just £2 to this campaign then please just text STHK £2 TO 70070.

Julie was overwhelmed with the support from the Trust staff, which included breast consultants; anaesthetists; a consultant radiologist; matron; lead cancer nurse; cancer research nurse; directorate manager; director of finance; director of operations; data manger for clinical trials; pre-op nurse; theatre staff; secretary; ward clerk and a PALS officer.

Dragon Boat racing has been shown to benefit breast cancer survivors. In Canada in 1996, Dr McKenzie formed the first BCS Team to test the effect of strenuous upper body exercise on lymphoedema and general well being. His positive results sparked the start of the breast cancer survivors Dragon Boat racing movement.

Pool of Life, the first dragon boat team for breast cancer survivors in the UK was established in 2004 under the guidance and support of Amathus Dragon Boat Club to help raise breast cancer awareness and demonstrate that survivors can lead full and active lives.

Members range from 30 to 70 but survivors of all ages are welcome to come along and try it out.

Pool of Life run Pink Paddle sessions at Liverpool Watersports Centre, Queens Dock, Liverpool, on the first Sunday of each month.

For further information please email or call 07743095285.