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Mayor to celebrate with dragon-boating breast cancer survivors

18 November 2005

Dragon boat racing for breast cancer survivors is a sport that’s growing around the world and on Monday Christchurch Mayor Garry Moore is holding a function to meet and congratulate the city’s Abreast of Life team which competed earlier this year at an international regatta and finished eighth of 64 teams.

News media representatives are invited to a cocktail function hosted by Mayor Garry Moore to celebrate the team’s achievements. The event is on in the Mayor’s Lounge on the first floor of the Civic Offices in Tuam Street from 5-6.30pm on Monday, 21 November.

The sport’s association with breast cancer started in 1995 when a Canadian doctor encouraged its use in rehabilitation. Until then, it was though physical exercise was not appropriate. Today there are more than 110 teams paddling in Canada, the United States, Australia, Italy, Britain, Poland, Singapore, China and New Zealand.

The Christchurch crew formed in 1999. They train regularly in the gym and twice a week on the water during the season which runs from November to March. To raise the $90,000 needed to get to the Canada regatta, they took on a variety of work -- warehouse stocktaking, pumpkin picking, beer selling at Jade Stadium, kitchen hand work at major catering jobs, cereal packet relabelling for Kelloggs and marshalling for marathons and triathlons. They ran theatre and movie evenings, auction nights, Trivial Pursuit evenings and sausage sizzles.

These sportswomen use their efforts to reach out to others and offer a message of hope, encouragement and support.

“We're not just another corporate or social team; in fact we're a team with pretty strict membership criteria,” one of the Christchurch paddlers says. “You have to be a woman who has survived a diagnosis of and treatment for breast cancer.

“We are raising general awareness about breast cancer, acting as a reminder to have regular breast examinations and mammograms, and bringing a message of hope, inspiration and survivorship to other women who are facing this devastating diagnosis of breast cancer.”

Statistically, one in nine women, across all occupations, social and ethnic groups, is likely to develop breast cancer. It is the second-highest cause of death amongst women.

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