Dragon boaters row to raise funds to fight breast cancer

Joe Gibbons
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Published on August 17, 2014

Avalon Dragon Boating member and breast cancer survivor Isabella St. John uses an old metal horn to make some noise during an afternoon race in Saturday’s Avalon Dragon Boaters 4th annual Paradise Dragon Boat Festival as part of SunSplash Paddle in Paradise at Octagon Pond.

Published on August 17, 2014

Members of the Avalon Dragon Boaters row their boat to position for the flower ceremony at Octagon Pond on Saturday.

Published on August 17, 2014

Avalon Dragons boating members and breast cancer survivors tossed these pink carnations into the water at Octagon Pond while participating in the flower ceremony Saturday.

Published on August 17, 2014

Deneice Haines displays her true pink colours as the Avalon Dragons boating member and breast cancer survivor hams it up at Saturday’s Avalon Dragon Boaters Paradise Dragon Boat Festival  at Octagon Pond in Paradise.

Published on August 17, 2014

Two members of the Avalon Dragon Boaters row back to the dock after participating in the flower ceremony.

Published on August 17, 2014

Avalon Dragon Boating member and breast cancer survivor Linda Hennebury, known to many as the proprietor of the Quidi Vidi Inn of Olde, uses tissues to wipe away tears from her eyes following the flower ceremony Saturday at Octagon Pond.

In conjunction with the Sun Splash Paddle in Paradise summer festival, the Avalon Dragons held their 4th annual dragon boat regatta fundraiser at their home base at Octagon Pond on Saturday. All the proceeds raised for the Dragons will go towards building a new Dragon Boat Centre there.

Races were held all day, with the 20 paddlers accompanied by a steersperson and drum beater as they rowed the boats down the pond. A record 34 community and corporate teams participated in the event.

The Avalon Dragons was founded on Oct. 30, 2006 by breast cancer survivor Julie Bettney, the group’s chairwoman. She says on the group’s website that “the association be­lieves dragon boating sends a powerful message that people living with breast cancer can lead full, active and healthy lives and that this message is a source of hope and inspiration to others who are just starting on their cancer journey.”

The group has grown from its initial roster of 22 members to more than 70 in 2014.

But for those in attendance on Saturday, all activities came to a brief halt over the lunch-hour for a moving flower ceremony to remember those who have not survived breast cancer and to give hope to those who still struggle with it.

The ceremony was held with song and prayer and words of wisdom, and following its conclusion, the on-water Avalon Dragon boaters as well as some participants on land, tossed pink carnation into the waters of Octagon Pond.

Here are some of the sights from Saturday’s event.

jgibbons@thetelegram.com

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