Rowing Against Cancer in Berlin with ICSSPE Staff on Board

22/07/2022 11:33

Congratulations to our ICSSPE team member and Communications and Marketing Manager Cora Zillich, who participated at the Rowing Against Cancer charity event in Berlin on Sunday, 17 July 2022, winning the Champions-Class event with her team, the Tumornators. Apart from rowing herself, Cora also volunteered her time as co-presenter of the event, leading through a full day of races, interviews, and medal presentations.


The charity regatta, which was held under the patronage of Iris Spranger, Berlin Senator for the Interior, Digitalisation and Sport, raised funds for sport projects for people living with cancer in Berlin, promoting and raising awareness about the importance and benefits of physical activity during cancer therapy, in recovery as well as for prevention.


The event was organised by the Stiftung Leben mit Krebs - Living with Cancer Foundation and the Rowing Club Tegel 1886 e.V., in cooperation with the Rowing Union Arkona Berlin 1879 e.V. and with the support of the Charité Sport Medicine Department, Berlin.


Sport and exercise support and counselling for cancer patients

The certified OnkoAktiv Centre (OncoActive) at the Department of Sports Medicine at Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, is the main beneficiary from this fundraising event. The positive effects exercise and sport have on cancer have been proven in numerous scientific studies and the OnkoAktiv Centres offer cancer patients the opportunity to undergo sport medicine examinations, fitness tests and to receive sport and training advice, as well as referrals to (OnkoAktiv certified) training facilities.


The proceeds of the regatta will be used to expand Berlin’s OnkoAktiv Centre’s range of services, including an increase in personnel capacity in the sports science area of the Department of Sports to improve their counselling service for oncology patients and to meet the increase in demand.  


“It has been scientifically proven that sport is an important part of therapy, both during cancer therapy and after. And the scientific data on this is getting better and better,” Prof. Dr. med. Bernd Wolfarth, Medical and Managing Director of the Charité Department of Sports Medicine, explained. Wolfarth is also the Chief Olympic Physician of ICSSPE member DOSB and Vice President of the German Society for Sports Medicine and Prevention.


A total of 43 corporate teams competed at the event with entry fees going towards the events’ fundraising efforts, which were also boosted by several event sponsors. Participating teams were introduced to the sport of rowing in 3-4 training sessions in the lead up to the event. The event also included some races for teams with rowing experience, including the champions-event which Cora and her team of rowing girlfriends won in a photo-finish.


“We still got it, I guess,” Cora laughed after winning ahead of a team made up of three men and one woman and another women’s quad consisting of athletes who are still in training.


Cora, who is a former national team rower and cancer survivor, has been an advocate for sport against cancer for many years, including in an ambassador role for Australian cancer charity Tour de Cure and was happy to support the important cause of the event in Berlin.


“We had a lot of fun out there. Of course, it’s great to win, but more importantly I am just thankful to have the opportunity to contribute to raising the awareness around cancer in general and the importance and benefits of sport for cancer prevention, therapy, and recovery specifically. Sport and training not only help to minimise side-effects of cancer therapy, including fatigue during and after treatment, but can also enhance the effectiveness of therapies. Plus it supports recovery and there is the preventive factor of sport, someone who is active is already doing something that helps reduce the risk of getting cancer!”


The team included former German national team rowers Susanne Wegener and Susanne Borg, as well as Carlotta Wegener and coxswain Marlene Wegener. The team was supported and cheered on by ICSSPE’s Sport Research Manager Pascal Camara and team mascot Ronja, who announced their intentions to put in an ICSSPE entry at next year’s event.


About Stiftung Leben mit Krebs - Living with Cancer Foundation

Since 2005, the Stiftung Leben mit Krebs - Living with Cancer Foundation has been successfully committed to significantly improving the quality of life of people with cancer.


Scientific studies have shown that sporting and social activities can contribute significantly to reducing the side effects of therapy and thus to improving the prognosis.


As a consequence, the Living with Cancer Foundation finances, among other things, therapists who carry out sports and exercise programmes within the framework of various support projects.


Although the treatment of cancer has improved significantly in recent decades, cancer is still the second most common cause of death in Germany and according to the WHO, the most common cause of death worldwide. In Germany, statistically one out two people will develop cancer in their lifetime.