Breast cancer survivors participate in dragon boat competition

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SARASOTA, Fla. -- More than 100 breast cancer survivor dragon boat paddlers, representing seven Florida cities, will meet at Nathan Benderson Park on Saturday, Aug. 9 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. for Paddle Day. This event includes a day of racing, coaching, exercise instruction and seminars on paddling techniques, nutrition and wellness.

This is the first Paddle Day event for the breast cancer survivor teams in Florida to join together as a group for clinics and competition.

Paddle Day is a preview and prep race for the 2014 International Breast Cancer Paddlers’ Commission (IBCPC) Participatory Dragon Boat Festival taking place Oct. 24-26 at Nathan Benderson Park, where more than 100 teams, 3,000 breast cancer survivor dragon boat paddlers and supporters representing more than 10 countries will converge and compete.

The Paddle Day will feature seven teams from across the state of Florida, including representatives from Jacksonville, Melbourne, Miami, Orlando, Punta Gorda, Sarasota and Tampa. Each dragon boat team typically includes between 18 and 23 breast cancer survivors.

“We are eager to participate in the August medley to prepare for the IBCPC event in October,” said breast cancer survivor and Orlando Warriors on Water member Michelle Hartog. “To see all of these breast cancer survivors come together to support one another, exercise and compete is a true testament to the sisterhood that is survivor hood.”

The IBCPC event is the largest International Sporting event to date at Nathan Benderson Park. The IBCPC Participatory Dragon Boat Festival is held every four years, and this is the first time the event has occurred in the U.S.

The 2014 event is hosted by two Florida breast cancer survivor teams, The Pink Dragon Ladies of Tampa and Save Our Sisters of Miami.