A TOTAL of 100 breast cancer survivors gathered on the Tweed River recently to battle it out in the recent Dragons Abreast Mt Warning pink regatta.
Dragons Abreast Mt Warning president Anne Bowden said she was pleased with the turnout on the day, which was held on the Tweed River at Murwillumbah on October 29.
"We're really happy with the outcome,” Bowden said.
She said the event, held every two years, was an emotional yet powerful time as breast cancer survivors gathered, but also spared a thought for those still undergoing treatment, and those who had passed away.
"This regatta was specifically for those who have undergone treatment for breast cancer and their supporters,” Bowden said.
"Paddlers came from the Sunshine Coast, Brisbane, Bribie Island, Gold Coast and Ballina to compete in perfect conditions and to build and renew friendships.”
Bowden said the pink regatta day was filled with serious on-water competition and plenty of on-shore laughs.
"The competition winners were a combination team of Sunshine Coast and the Ballina team Rainbow Dragons, yet everyone who took to the water was recognised as a winner,” she said.
"Every competitor received a miniature paddle which were personally made by DAMW member Val Lowe, who also made the competition trophies.
"They were received with great enthusiasm.”
Bowden said the regatta was used as a training session for a number of paddlers who are planning to go to Florence, Italy, in 2018 to compete in an international regatta.
"That regatta is an opportunity for breast cancer survivor paddlers from around the world to come together in friendly competition,” she said.
As October was Breast Cancer Awareness Month, she urged community members to undergo regular checks.
The event wrapped up with a Flowers on the Water ceremony, a tribute to those receiving cancer treatment and those who had passed away.
"A diagnosis of breast cancer is a shock to receive, treatment is quite demanding but we are here to testify to a whole new world that can open up by taking the challenge to build fitness,” she said.
Bowden said the club had cemented relationships between survivors, as regular exercise was key to maintaining their health post-treatment.
"Anyone can try dragon boating in a friendly and supportive atmosphere. You don't have to be fit to paddle as paddling builds your fitness,” she said.
She said the friendly competition on offer at the club helped to keep its members engaged.
"Dragons Abreast Mt Warning supports the philosophy of Dragon Boating for Fitness, Fun and Friendships,” she said.
"That is how it was on the river (for the regatta).”
One in eight women will get a diagnosis of breast cancer in their lifetime, and in Australia, 120 men will be diagnosed each year.
For more information about the club's activities visit mtwarningdragons.com.