It’s no coincidence that registration for the 18th annual Peterborough’s Dragon Boat Festival opened today (March 8) — International Women’s Day.
Experts predict that one in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetimes, and the festival has raised $3.1 million over the past 17 years to help improve breast cancer treatment.
Organizers encourage everyone to ‘Get in the Boat’ (#getintheboat on social media) and register now for the 2018 festival, which takes place on Saturday, June 9th at Del Crary Park, at www.ptbodragonboat.ca.
This year’s event has some new features for participants and visitors. While the luxury ‘Dragon’s Lair’ for the top fundraising team returns, there will also the slightly less luxurious ‘Dragon’s Loft’ and ‘Dragon’s Nest’ for the second and third place fundraising teams.
The minimum age to register has been lowered to 13, so that even more young people and families can take part. There’s also a new ‘Paddler’s Pool’, where people can register online as individuals if they’d like to participate in the festival but don’t have a team.
“The 2018 festival is about even more people having even more fun while raising money for a really important cause,” says festival chair Michelle Thornton. “There’s going to be so much for paddlers and visitors to do between races. We’ve got the new Vendor’s Village partnership with Modern Makers Market featuring local artisans and food vendors, and we’re adding a family-friendly Fun Zone complete with a pop-up skate park, axe-throwing, Zumba and tumbling, face-painting and crafts, and much more.”
For anyone who wants to learn about the event in advance, festival organizers are also hosting an “open house” for Thursday, March 22nd from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Trent University Athletics Centre. Visitors can even join Survivors Abreast team members in the tank and give paddling a try.
Funds raised through this year’s Peterborough’s Dragon Boat Festival will help the Peterborough Regional Health Centre (PRHC) Foundation invest in new laboratory automation technology to ensure PRHC’s lab technologists can provide pathologists with the materials they need to make accurate breast cancer diagnoses even sooner.
“Wwe want to make sure that the tests and treatment that can save lives are available right here in our community, at our hospital,” Thornton says “That’s why we’re encouraging everybody to get in the boat with us because, if we keep paddling together, we can continue to have an incredible impact on the lives of those women and men in our region who are facing this terrible disease.”
Lesley Heighway, PRHC Foundation President and CEO, explains that without the lab, there would be no cancer care at PRHC.
“For a cancer patient and their loved ones, two of the hardest things to deal with are waiting and uncertainty,” Heighway says. “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 and cytological samples taken during cancer biopsies and surgeries.”
For the 17th year, Kawartha Credit Union is also returning in 2018 as the festival’s Platinum sponsor, continuing their commitment to the community and the cause.
“We’re passionate about supporting the well-being of the communities we serve,” says Rob Wellstood, CEO of Kawartha Credit Union. “Peterborough’s Dragon Boat Festival is a wonderful example of the impact we can have when we come together as a community to make life better for our friends and neighbours. Kawartha Credit Union is very proud to continue our support of an event that unites our community in common purpose and spirit year after year.”
Two new registration rates at www.ptbodragonboat.ca allow team captains to take advantage of savings and help raise awareness about the festival: “The First 18” (18 spots only, available until March 18th or until the spots are gone) followed by the “18th Anniversary Rate” (18 spots only, available until March 28th or until spots are gone).
Regular registration continues into the month of May.