Dragon boat racing: Experiencing Peterborough’s spirit of teamwork and community

The Peterborough Dragon Boat Festival holds a special place in my heart. Marlene, Peggy and I paddle with Survivors Abreast Dragon Boat team. 

The two weeks following up to the festival are super busy for us as we help with Survivors Abreast teammates and provide over 60 community teams with one-hour Little Lake practices. 

Marlene and I coached the teams and we honestly love the energy of those teams and their commitment to our community. Peggy fearlessly steered the dragon boats for the community team through wind and rain.

Festival day was a beautiful day, full of sunshine, smiles and laughter.

The Peterborough community continues to make me proud to live here. Our people get behind the cause with heart and step up to the plate each year. 

As a Survivors Abreast paddler, festival day tends to swell my heart, and to see over 60 teams supporting our festival is a testament to people coming together to make a difference. 

I have paddled now for nine years with Survivors Abreast, in nine Peterborough Dragon Boat Festivals, two International Dragon Boat Festivals (Peterborough 2010 and Sarasota 2014), and countless summer festivals spreading the word that early detection can save your life.

As a breast cancer survivor — cancer free since 2006, I have to add — I know the importance of early detection and the importance of awareness.

I think if my mind had been more aware that breast cancer could touch me, I would have been more proactive when I felt a lump and wouldn’t have waited months until making a doctor’s appointment. Don’t we all love the wisdom of hindsight?

I love the strength I feel in the boat when paddling and the inspiration of all the women around me.

I often say to my paddling pals who are in their mid-70s, that dragon boating paddling is the fountain of youth. They look and have the energy of someone 20 years younger than they are. 

Survivors Abreast paddlers and the Peterborough community surround me with warmth and energy to keep moving forward. 

Best,
Bridget