Paddles up for Italy

Community Featured

The weather on Saturday may not have been the best but the Maritime Dragons were ready to go and out on the East River practising twice that day for their big trip to Italy.

A group of breast cancer survivors from Pictou County’s dragon boat team and a team from Saint John, NB, are preparing to make their way to Italy for the upcoming International Dragon Boat Festival in Florence from July 3 to 8.

The event, held every four years by the International Breast Cancer Paddler’s Commission, is a non-competitive participatory sport. A group from the county has attended the festival in the past, but has never travelled this far to attend, said Fay Booth from the group.

“It’s a chance to go to be with 5,000 breast cancer survivors from around the world,” she said.

The atmosphere at the events is full of camaraderie and is an amazing experience for a survivor to get to take part in, with the event being a big celebration of those that have made it through the illness.

“We have been planning and saving for this race since 2016 as each team member is footing our own bill for this trip of a lifetime,” said Booth.

This year’s festival will feature 129 teams from 17 countries, a team from each continent participating with the event only open to breast cancer survivors, something that makes it extra special.

“We will learn how they deal with breast cancer, what drugs are used and we learn as big a world we think we live in, this disease makes us all sisters with a message to tell,” said Booth.

“There can be a wonderful life after a breast cancer diagnosis.”