“I don’t really realize, it’s so incredible to be able to carry the Olympic flame. It only happens once in a lifetime, exclaims Émilie Blond. Sport presented itself to me after my cancer as a way to prevent recurrence. The Olympic Games are quite a symbol: they are aimed at the whole world. And there we will be able to put a wave of pink on the Lac du Der. »
It’s certain the Lac du Der, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this yearthat the Olympic torch will pass through on June 30, day of his passage in the Marne, aboard a dragon-headed boat to then reach Châlons-en-Champagne, Épernay and Reims at the end of the day. Lac du Der is where it all began for Émilie Blond. This is where this forty-year-old, originally from Vitry-le-François, created her Dragon Ladies crew for women with breast cancer.
“We’re going to cover 600 meters, it’s short but it’s already huge! We will leave the Champaubert church to reach the Rougemer peninsula. There are only ten places on board, so we will have to define the list of participants. It will be great to be able to show the world that you can recover from cancer. We rowed for the treatments, now we live together again thanks to this sport,” she says with pride.
The Champ’Dragon Ladies team was to meet on January 30 with the town hall of Giffaumont and the Syndicat du Der to determine the progress of the “Transport of flame” operation on the Lac du Der. But nothing filtered out. In the coming weeks, Émilie Blond will have to have trained her crew for D-Day. Since the creation of the Champ’Dragon Ladies, in the Vitry-le-François and Châlons sector in the fall of 2022, around thirty people with ‘cancer or in remission paddle together every week.
A collective that moves forward together in the face of illness and through sport. It was in Reims that the initiative was born, fifteen years ago. Since then, the system has spread throughout France and around a hundred Dragon Ladies crews exist today. Their boat, of Chinese origin, with its dragon head, allows women suffering from breast cancer to practice an adapted sporting activity which prevents recurrence.