News & Insights

Why Connamara Supports Recovery on Water (ROW)

There is no such thing as a bad time to give back to your community. But with October being Breast Cancer Awareness month, we thought it would be particularly timely to talk about an organization that we here at Connamara are proud to support: Recovery on Water or “ROW.”

Based on the south side of Chicago, ROW is, in the organization’s own words, “a rowing team that gives breast cancer patients and survivors the unique opportunity to interact, become active in their recovery, and gain support from their peers.” The team is free for members to join, and offers the opportunity to not only train but also compete in regattas if they so desire.

It is important to support and empower women in general, and it is particularly important to do so for breast cancer survivors. According to, about 12% of women will develop breast cancer at some point in their lifetime. Treatment takes time, money, and energy, and can leave women with lasting complications — even after defeating cancer, the fight is not always over.

That’s where ROW, and rowing, can make a difference. Our CEO and founder, Jim Downs, is a rowing enthusiast, and we know all about the benefits it can bring to anyone who participates. These benefits are only amplified for breast cancer survivors.

The first, unsurprisingly, is the benefit of physical exercise. It’s no revelation that physical exercise is important to health, but for breast cancer survivors it can reduce the risk of recurrence by up to 50 percent. Physical activity is literally saving lives.

And rowing is not just any physical activity. It requires constant discipline, perseverance, and focus. Rowing is said to be a full-body workout, and that is true, but it builds mental strength just as much as it does physical strength.

Part of the reason for this challenge is that rowing is a team sport, and it is vital to be in sync with your teammates in the boat. ROW helps women build a community both inside and outside the boat. Members bond with other breast cancer survivors and work together toward a common goal. We’re all stronger with a team around us, and ROW provides that necessary team support to its members.

For all of its benefits, though, rowing is not a cheap sport. A quality boat can cost $40k, not to mention costs for other equipment and things like safety kits, insurance, etc. To us at Connamara, it’s clear that these costs are well worth the benefits that rowing brings to breast cancer survivors. We encourage you to learn more about ROW and, if you feel the same, to join us in donating this month.

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