The 2018 Peterborough Dragon Boat Festival made another splash by raising more than $211,000 for breast cancer research and screening equipment.
On Tuesday morning at the Del Crary Park T-wharf, volunteers from the Survivors Abreast team and the festival organizing committee presented a cheque for $211,238.32 to the Peterborough Regional Health Centre and PRHC Foundation. The 18th annual event was held on June 8.
WATCH: 1,300 paddlers participate the Peterborough Dragon Boat Festival
Festival chairperson Michelle Thornton said the means of delivery wasn’t just about dragon boating; it was also symbolic of the community’s “tremendous response” to the festival’s 2018 call to action.
“In 2018, our 18th year, we challenged participants, sponsors, donors and volunteers to #GETINTHEBOAT and help make the festival even better than ever,” said Thornton. “As you can see, not only did they meet the challenge, they absolutely blew it out of the water. By paddling together, we are having an incredible impact on the lives of those women and men in our region who are facing this terrible disease.”
“Breast cancer now affects 1 in 8 women in her lifetime,” Thornton added. “Your support this year will help make sure the tests and treatment that can save lives are available right here in our community, at our hospital. And best of all, what’s raised here, stays here.”
The proceeds will support fast, accurate breast cancer diagnosis through innovation in PRHC’s laboratory.
“For a cancer patient and their loved ones, two of the hardest things to deal with are waiting and uncertainty,” said PRHC Foundation president and CEO Lesley Heighway.
“Doctors rely on lab results to determine and confirm 100 per cent of cancer diagnoses and treatment decisions so we’re investing in new laboratory automation technology that supports efficient processing of tissue samples taken during cancer biopsies and surgeries. As a result, lab technologists will be able to provide pathologists with the materials they need to make accurate breast cancer diagnoses even sooner.”
Heighway says the lab processes more than 20,000 cancer-related cases annually. Therefore, the festival and donors’ contributions will benefit “thousands of additional people.”
“We’re so grateful for the support of our partners Survivors Abreast and Peterborough’s Dragon Boat Festival, and to every one of the paddlers, donors, volunteers and sponsors who helped make this amazing event such a success,” she said.
In its 18-year history, the festival has raised more than $3.3 million for breast cancer screening, diagnosis and treatment in Peterborough.
Host team Survivors Abreast president Peggy Quirion says they’re incredibly proud of the impact the festival has had on patient care at PRHC.
“Teams that have been with us since the beginning continue to come out year after year and now their children and grandchildren are joining them or creating their own teams,” she said. “It’s both inspiring and humbling to think of the impact we’re going to be able to have on the quality of breast cancer care available in our region, now and into the future.”
The 2019 edition is set for June 8.