Dragons Abreast paddlers to compete at Florida festival

TEN of Ballarat’s Dragons Abreast paddlers are heading for international waters.

 Ballarat’s Dragons Abreast paddlers heading to Florida include, from left, Kay Kilmartin, Debbie Hunter, Margaret Van Berkel, Anne Stowe, Helen Dorning, Kim Barker, Deidre McRae and Karen Whykes. 

PICTURE: ADAM TRAFFORD

Ballarat’s Dragons Abreast paddlers heading to Florida include, from left, Kay Kilmartin, Debbie Hunter, Margaret Van Berkel, Anne Stowe, Helen Dorning, Kim Barker, Deidre McRae and Karen Whykes. PICTURE: ADAM TRAFFORD

The group, accompanied by two supporters, will take part in the International Breast Cancer Paddling Commission’s Dragon Boat Festival in Sarasota, Florida, on October 25 and 26.

About 3000 breast cancer survivors worldwide will take part in the festival, including several hundred from Australia.

Dragons Abreast Ballarat group president Helen Dorning said the event was held every four years, with last one in Peterborough, Canada, in 2010 and the first in Caloundra, Queensland, in 2007.

Ms Dorning is about to attend her third festival and said they were “absolutely amazing”.

“We will take part in the regatta, which is 500-metre races over two days,” she said.

She said the event also included a street march, workshops and socialising.

“There is also one race dedicated to the people who have lost their struggle, called the Flowers on the Water ceremony.”

Ms Dorning said fund-raising to cover uniforms and event registration had so far included barbecues, trivia nights and raffles but people could still donate through the Dragons Abreast Ballarat email at coordinator.daballarat@gmail.com

Dragons Abreast Ballarat began in February, 2005 and promotes fitness and wellness for women, and some men, following a breast cancer diagnosis.

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