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Paddles up! 23rd Peterborough Dragon Boat Festival returns to Little Lake June 8

Coming off a record-breaking year, the Peterborough Dragon Boat Festival is set to return to Little Lake in the heart of the city on June 8.

The annual festival raises funds for cancer supports and services at the Peterborough Regional Health Centre. Last year, the event surpassed the $4-million mark in donations over its 22-year history, capped with the largest single donation of $290,025.18 to the PRHC Foundation. The funds helped purchase equipment to screen, diagnose and treat breast and other cancers at the hospital.

Registration for the 23rd edition of the festival opens on Feb. 25 at 12:01 a.m. and can be completed online. The first three teams to register will win a free extra practice in a dragon boat on Little Lake.

“Our festival thrives because of a community-driven spirit, and like-minded people,” festival chairperson Michelle Thornton said.

“People who want to make a difference. Each year the festival makes a real difference in someone’s life. We might not even know that someone but that doesn’t matter. What matters is someone won’t have to travel to receive their treatments, or someone will be diagnosed early and a life will be saved. We look forward to June 8th as we continue to make a difference one race at a time.”

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The festival, centred at Del Crary Park, will again feature the boat races, artisan and food vendors, a family fun zone, a beer garden and more.

This year’s goal is to raise over $250,000 to help PRHC continue to invest in new state-of-the-art equipment and technology to serve more cancer patients, support earlier cancer diagnosis and provide safer, more effective treatments closer to home.

“It is estimated that two out of five Canadians will be diagnosed with some form of cancer in their lifetime, and one in eight women will develop breast cancer,” Thornton said. “Our goal of $251,825.18 reflects these statistics and the importance of screening equipment and early detection.

“We know it’s an aggressive goal, but cancer can be too.  That’s why the festival planning committee volunteers are committed to working hard and we look forward to welcoming everyone to such a worthy and important community fundraising event.”

The festival is hosted by the Survivors Abreast Dragon Boat Team, whose members are cancer survivors. Team president Ann Stabler said they are proud of the outstanding impact the team has made since its inception in 1999.

“We’ve always focussed on breast cancer awareness and raising funds for the PRHC,” she said. “We know first-hand the importance of the work the Peterborough Regional Health Centre Foundation does, and their continuing mission to bring the best cancer care the world has to offer, right here to our hospital.”

Lesley Heighway, PRHC Foundation president and CEO, says last year’s festival was a “record-breaking testament” to community support.

“We’re looking forward to participating in another great day on the water this year,” she said. “Seeing our community come together for a cause that has undoubtedly touched each of our lives is truly incredible. With cancer volumes on the rise and an increasing number of patients from Peterborough and the surrounding area seeking treatment at PRHC, our hospital’s ability to provide expert, compassionate cancer treatment depends on having state-of-the-art equipment and technology.

“But the government doesn’t fund equipment, so our hospital counts on donations to purchase the tools needed to provide care to our family, friends and neighbours. That’s why the festival is such a vital fundraiser for our community. The festival helps save lives.”

Organizers say Kawartha Credit Union will for the 23rd year be the event’s presenting sponsor.

“At Kawartha Credit Union, ‘care for others’ is one of our core values and we are passionate about contributing to the well-being of the communities we serve,” said Norah McCarthy, KCU’s president and CEO. “We demonstrate our commitment through our words and actions, and being the Presenting Sponsor of Peterborough’s Dragon Boat Festival is a great example.

“We encourage our partners in the community to provide financial support while also participating in a fun event that unites Peterborough and our surrounding areas in a common goal to improve local health care resources.”

Participants and supporters are encouraged to engage with the festival on Facebook and Instagram at @ptbodragonboat.

&copy 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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