Chicago and Galway C...

Chicago and Galway Connect

Nuala Kavanagh tells us her story in her own words about how she ended up connecting two great groups together and then found herself rowing on the Corrib during Summer 2023.

I’m from Newcastle Park in Galway but left in 1985. Seamus and I travelled and settled in Chicago in June 2004. I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in 2007. Have always loved watching rowing but never had the chance to try myself. In Chicago I started following Recovery on Water and on Facebook started following Row to Recovery Galway and was loving that this was happening in both cities.

Connecting Two Amazing Organizations

Having attended Irish events in Chicago I was asked by Billy Lawless to become a member of Chicago Galway Sister Cities and take over his position of Co-Chair in 2022. I did a reset with the committee and brought on some new members. We all agreed to work on Projects which are Purpose-based. My first proposal was that I would reach out to Recovery on Water Chicago and Row to Recovery Galway and talk with both organisations to forge a relationship around sport, health and education and build a bridge across the Atlantic to enable friendships and learning on both sides of the pond.

Chicago Connections

Chicago Sister Cities International’s exists 60 years, its mission is to foster cooperation and understanding though citizen diplomacy. Goals include fostering relationships with their sister cities, building bridges with communities and sharing of ideas to create better environments.

Beginning 2023, I reached out to Tara in Chicago and Robin in Galway and arranged a zoom and we knew immediately this was the beginning to a purposeful journey to establish friendships and rowing and education and lots of laughs along the way.

Three People Meet in Chicago

We then met in Chicago in person (Robin happens to be from Chicago, what a coincidence) and we talked about how we can take steps and create goals. We chatted about how you could help us and perhaps start with a blog and also use an App which Tara has for her Chicago organization to establish pen pals from across the Atlantic.

Our Journey Ahead

Our goals have not been set in concrete yet. We will gather a panel to help with this but our mission is to establish a relationship across the Atlantic between both organizations to forge friendships, learning and health in a positive environment moving forward from having dealt with cancer.

Our journey ahead will hopefully encompass rowing, establishing friendships, learning from each other and to do this we will, along with our rowing organizations, be chatting with doctors, cancer organizations, government bodies, fundraising. The journey will have small steps and large steps and to do this we will need all the help we can get. When we do bring the teams in person across the pond, we hope to have learning opportunities on cancer, sport for healing, visits to treatment centers, panel discussions on treatments and resources etc.

Ending up on the Corrib

So how did I end up in a boat on the Corrib? During the summer I came to visit Row to Recovery. Expecting just to say hello to all, somehow I was encouraged to join in and before I knew it I was rowing down the Corrib. Enjoying the scenic views, camaraderie, fun and laughter in the boat. Friendships are already being forged between both cities and the future looks bright.

Chicago and Galway Connect
Why Rowing?

Why Rowing?

Rowing is a cerebral low impact sport that utilizes the whole body and is accessible to all, regardless of fitness level. While a certain level of fitness is helpful, full training is offered by certified coaches and absolute beginners are welcome. Nor is age a barrier, our members range from early forty to late sixty.

Regaining a level of fitness, learning the skill of rowing, training and being part of a rowing crew in a very supportive, non competitive, fun manner are just some of the many benefits cancer patients have found when they join our crew.