Olderfleet Rowing Club, which offers social and competitive offshore rowing along the Antrim coast, was founded by Barbara Johnston earlier this year and with the help of the local business community, the club is going from strength to strength with 82 members and plans for continued growth. Not only that, but Olderfleet Rowing Club is proudly supporting Friends of the Cancer Centre and as well as raising money and awareness of the charity, the club will be giving teenagers and young adults with cancer the opportunity to get out on the water and try rowing for themselves.
Commenting on what inspired her to start her own rowing club, Barbara said:
“I come from a rowing family and I have been rowing myself for eight years. It is an incredible sport that I have fallen in love with, and I decided to establish my own club earlier this year. Olderfleet Rowing Club opened in February and with the help and support of James Boomer and Norman Black, we are building a really great community.
“A big part of what I wanted to achieve with the club when we started was to give young people who have been affected by cancer the opportunity to try rowing and with the help of local charity Friends of the Cancer Centre, which is a cause very close to my heart, we are working towards achieving that.”
Barbara was inspired to support the local charity following her own experience with cancer. In 1990, when she was just 21 years old, Barbara was diagnosed with skin cancer and in 1995, she discovered that the cancer had spread to her lungs. Barbara said:
“I was absolutely devastated by the diagnosis at such a young age, but thanks to the incredible care I received and the support I’ve had from the Cancer Centre over the years, I’m doing well and enjoying life with my husband, Jason and son, Sam.
“I have always been an advocate of not only the physical benefits of rowing, but also the positive effect it has on mental health, particularly for those who have had a cancer diagnosis. That is why we will be working with Friends of the Cancer Centre’s Teenage and Young Adult nurses to offer young people with cancer the chance to get out on the water – when it is safe to do so in light of COVID-19 – and try rowing for themselves. It will be a wonderful opportunity for them to try something new, providing distraction and fun for them and their families.”
Barbara and the members of Olderfleet Rowing Club would like to thank the local business community, which has kindly donated supplies to help the club get up and running. If your business would like to show its support, you can contact Barbara Johnston through Olderfleet Rowing Club’s Facebook page.