Festivals - Carnation Ceremony

June 2010 - International Dragon Boat Festival - Peterborough, Ontario

Raymond James Dragon Boat Festival, Penticton -

September 12-13 2009

The weekend started for Survivorship on Friday at 9:30 AM with the set up of the beer garden. With many hands on deck, including some fellows, we had everything in place and decorated by about 3:00. The party started at 5:00 and was attended by all 12 Breast Cancer Survivor teams, looking good in their "rock and roll" costumes. Summerland Wineries had a variety of wines for tasting and with their $10 ticket each paddler got a glass of wine of their choice, a door prize ticket and food. Janice Perrino ( Mayor of Summerland and head of the South Okanagan Medical Foundation) opened the evening with a short welcoming speech and the evening proceeded with each team doing their assigned dance from the rock and roll era ( Survivorship did the Bossa Nova) interspersed with door prizes 15 in all. We had one raffle prize, a beautful pink bag with 3 bottles of local wine. The drink costume contest was a hit. The joint was jumpin' with some great dance music till after 9PM. We managed to be cleaned up and heading home by 10 with our 10th Anniversary celebration a huge success!
 Thanks to all of our generous sponsors for their contributions to this spectacular event!
Festival weekend weather was perfection and everyone thoroughly enjoyed the Skaha Lake venue. We had 26 on the roster. There were 24 women's teams and they ended up with 12 in the top Blue Division and 12 in the Red Division. Survivorship finished in the Red Final A Division and came 1st. However in the Dale Charles Breast Cancer Challenge Final A we came in second to Breast Friends from Edmonton. The  keeper trophy offered to Breast Friends was refused and the money donated to our team.
Survivorship designed and paid for the 10th anniversary logo on the back of the medlas for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd as well as the ribbons for the Final B challenge.
The carnation ceremony speech was given by Kelly Lauer and the song The River by Garth Brooks was played.
All in all a great finish for our paddling year!
Kelly's speech
Thank you. I am truly honoured to have asked to share a message of hope with you today. I am the proud daughter of one of the approximately 280 Breast Cancer Survivors here today.
Before you in these boats sit true warriors, they have taken on a Dragon.
Some are in the midst of their battle.
They are our mothers, daughters, sisters, grandmothers, aunts, nieces and friends. This disease knows no limits, no colour, and no age. This week 437 women and 4 men will be diagnosed with Breast Cancer and an estimated 5,400 women and 50 men will die from it this year.
Yet there is even more cause than ever to be optimistic. At present, the five year relative survival rate for breast cancer in Canada is 87%, which means that women diagnosed with breast cancer have an 87% likelihood of living 5 years after diagnosis.
I ask you to gaze upon the faces of these women, the Survivors, who reflect on their personal journey everytime they raise their paddles. From a medical study involving one boat of 25 women in 1996. breast cancer dragonboating now reaches around the world , with 117 teams in 12 countries and still growing. Dragon boating is their way of raising awareness about this disease, sharing their stories and inspiring those facing the battle to fight..........there is a life after diagnosis!
Every team here today has faced the loss of fellow paddlers. They choose to honour these warriors in different ways. Today Survivorship celebrates the life of their friend Mary Auld with every stroke of the their pink paddles, a legacy that was left in Mary's name.
The pink carnations, this year generously supplied by Heritage Flowers and Gift of Penticton, has become a symbol of hope, courage and honour for Breast Cancer. On behalf of these survivors, I would like to ask you to take a few moments to reflect on those Breast Cancer has touched your life, to celebrate the power and courage of Survivors everywhere and to honour those who are here with us in spirit today.
Thank you.


Vernon Dragon Boat Festival July 25-26, 2009

We ended up with 24 on our roster including Cheryl, Sandy and Pat from Dragon Bottoms. Joyce was our drummer and Claire elected not to steer the "tippy" boats. We arranged a practice time on the Friday night with Anne from Vernon steering. We were able to get a steeersperson for each race including the Breast Cnancer Race. There were 5 boats in the Scotiabank Breast Cancer Challenge Race and Survivorshp won, edging out Spirit Warriors and Sistership.
The BCS boat from Vernon, Bouyant Buddies, was unable to get a large enough response to their plans for a dinner on the Friday evening. We stayed at the Village Green and enjoyed some social time on both evenings. The festival site experienced a wind storm late Saturday afternoon which required some hardy souls to take down our tents and stash chairs etc. Saturday night while we were eating dinner the rains came down hard Thankfully, Sunday dawned beautiful and the festival continued to a successful conclusion.
2nd Annual Okanagan Sprints July 4th, 2009
Another fun day with 250 meters and 22 on the roster. We had 3 races and in the first one beat Women on Fire from Kelowna! We ended up in the B final and came 2nd. This event is a great way to start off the season.

What a good looking team!


Nanaimo Dragon Boat Festival - July 11-13, 2008

Our roster of 22 included a guest steerperson and two fellow paddlers from Dragon Bottoms (Penticton). Twelve of us rode in a rented van driven by Cathie's husband Kevin - great fun! Most of us stayed in a less than luxurious hotel right on the water and only a few minutes walk from the race site. We had a fun breast cancer survivors party on Friday night where we dressed in our bra shirts, feathered masks and lots of beads to fit into the Mardi Gras theme. At dusk all the survivors paraded down to the bay where we held a candle lighting ceremony. It was very moving for survivors, supporters and the public alike.

This was a great festival - very well run, nice grassy participant's tent area and a perfect racing venue. There were 28 women's teams divided into Platinum A and B, Diamond A and B and Jade A, B & C. After 2 races on Saturday we placed in the Jade A division and made the finals on Sunday where we placed 2nd. There were 10 breast cancer survivor teams and we were happy with our 3rd place finish in the survivors race.

A highlight of the trip was our Saturday night dinner at a fascinating floating restaurant and bar called the Dinghy Dock on Protection Island. This place was certainly worth 2 husbands going over to "save" a table and a the wait that we had to get on a ferry to the island. This was a unique experience and a fun time was had by all!

We all agreed - "Let's attend this festival next year!"

Warming up in Nanaimo

Another photo op!

What wonderful support!


Following Survivorship's winning performance at the 2005 Abreast in a Boat 10 Year Anniversary Festival in Vancouver, it was felt that a trip to Australia was warranted to defend our title. The 2007 Abreast in Australia Dragon Boat Regatta was held in Caloundra, Queensland on September 28-30. After a great deal of fundraising and wonderful support from the South Okanagan community, 16 members of Survivorship, plus 2 breast cancer survivors from other Okanagan dragon boats, made the very long journey. The team picked up 5 more Australian paddlers to make a full roster.

There were 72 teams from all over the world, including the United States, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong and Italy to name a few. Canada was well represented with 20 teams attending. The Australian teams were very strong taking the top awards.

This was an incredible opportunity for all of us to meet other women from around the world who have survived or are still battling breast cancer. It became obvious to us how the dynamics of the disease are changing when we observed how many more younger women are now diagnosed.

All of the teams were treated to a huge party on the opening night of the regatta starting with a very long pink parade through the city centre of Caloundra. We received an arousing welcome from everyone along the route.

Dressed in pink and ready to go!

Some took going pink very seriously!

The races were very challenging with gusting winds throughout the last day. Thanks to our Australian steerperson, Fairlie Stanish, we managed to stay on course! The highlight of the regatta was the very moving flower ceremony when representatives from all teams made up 14 boats to form a flotilla. It was similar to our pink carnation ceremony, but, a variety of flowers were used.

Resting up - waiting for our next race (Rob too!)

Singapore - 2006

Six paddlers from the Okanagan went to Singapore for the 1st IPDBC Breast Cancer Dragon Boat World Championships in September 2006. We then toured Malaysia, Thailand and Hong Kong for just over 3 weeks.

In Singapore there were breast cancer teams from all over the world: Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, England, Italy, Malaysia, and 5 teams from Canada. The Singapore team hosted a wonderful festival and banquet. It seemed like we were forever eating! We had smoke from the Indonesian fires and very humid heat to contend with, plus we paddled in 12 races over 2 days, but we enjoyed ourselves immensely and did well, considering we had never paddled before as a team. Our team, Sistership,organized a walk around the race site on the same ‘Race for the Cure’ day back home in Canada...what a thrill to look behind us and see a sea of pink walking with us and spreading the message of hope in Singapore. The Canadian consul hosted a banquet for us as well, and welcomed all the Canadian teams to Singapore.

After a week in Singapore we toured several days by bus through Malaysia, and learned much about the history and progress of that lovely, gentle country from our excellent tour guide, and then we flew to Bangkok. The high point in Thailand, (besides shopping and touring immense temples!) was the River Kwai experience on a primitive Raftel and an hour riding elephants through the jungle. The reality however of the sad war history of the River Kwai area was numbing. We then spent 2 days in Hong Kong which was fun, and good for last minute shopping! We were amazed to see a highrise office tower in downtown Hong Kong showing a huge moving pink ribbon in brilliant lights, then messages of hope and advocating early detection flashed around the building.

Just as we were getting somewhat used to the heat and humidity of Southeast Asia it was time to come home. It was all quite an experience with lasting memories!


Abreast in a Boat 10th Anniversary International Festival

June 26-27, 2005

The 2005 dragon boating season started with much enthusiasm. Survivorship had decided that they would participate in the first "world" dragon boat festival. Abreast In a Boat, Vancouver, the first breast cancer survivors dragon boat team, would be celebrating their 10th anniversary by inviting teams from around the world to participate in an amazing festival.

To say that Survivorship worked extremely hard for the 6 months leading up to June 26 would be an understatement! It was a powerful team that went to Vancouver!

The celebration began on Friday with a reception at The Plaza of Nations. It was amazing to see hundreds of women dressed in pink, along with their supporters, "partying up a storm". There was plenty of singing and dancing and an opportunity to meet people from across this continent and around the world.

Survivorship progressed through the heats well on Saturday and advanced to the finals on Sunday. It was incredibly exciting, but, the team managed to stay strong and focused. It was not a big surprise that Survivorship won the final race - after all, our practices had included 20 race pieces for the last 2 months! However, what a thrill to have our name called as the top breast cancer team at the celebration. We climbed onto that stage with huge grins on all of our faces to accept the "Scotia Cup Trophy".


The "Vancouver" team

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