The Plurabelle Paddlers ‘Team Ireland’ went through its final preparations this weekend ahead of the International Breast Cancer Paddlers Commission (IBCPC) 2014 Dragon Boat Festival in Sarasota, Florida from 24th-26th October. The 25 strong team, made up of members from Carlow, Cork, Clonmel, Donegal, Dublin, Northern Ireland and Waterford, will be one of just 96 teams registered to take part from around the world at the festival, and will participate in the 500m category.
Speaking at the final training session at the Plurabelle Paddlers Club House at Dublin’s Grand Canal Dock, Team Captain Margaret Mulcahy said: “It is fantastic to see such excitement and enthusiasm here today ahead of the trip to Sarasota. So much work has been put into our preparations from everyone involved, and we just can’t wait to get over there and to represent Ireland at such a fantastic event.” She continued, “This club has been so important for our members, providing not just a great way in which to stay active and healthy, but also the support and the camaraderie that comes from being involved in a team.”
Stemming from a 2,000 year old Chinese tradition, modern dragon boat racing has evolved as a popular water sport that has rapidly spread across the globe. In 1996, Dr. Don McKenzie, working in the University of Columbia used dragon boat racing to research the effects of repetitive upper body exercise in those treated for breast cancer. At the time it was thought that this kind of exercise might worsen lymphoedema (a swelling of the arm that may affect some after surgery). His study involved 25 women doing a gradual programme of upper body exercise including dragon boat racing. He found that none of the women monitored who had lymphoedema condition worsened and no new cases of lymphoedema were reported.
He created the first breast cancer survivor dragon boat team in Vancouver, training twenty four breast cancer volunteers in a gym for three months, introduced them to dragon boats and taught them paddling techniques. At the end of the three month season on the water, none of the volunteers had lymphoedema.
Today, the number of BCS teams has grown to more than 150 – in 12 countries around the world. Survivors have embraced the sport for its physical conditioning and the camaraderie that only other survivors can provide. The IBCPC Participatory Dragon Boat Festivals have previously been held in Vancouver, Canada (2005); Caloundra, Australia (2007); and Peterborough, Canada (2010).
For more information about the Plurabelle Paddlers visit www.plurabellepaddlers.com or visit the Team Ireland Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/
For more information about the International Breast Cancer Paddlers Commission 2014 Dragon Boat Festival in Sarasota, Florida visit: www.ibcpc.com
The Plurabelle Paddlers was set up in 2010 when Fiona Tiernan and Marian O’Dea got together and decided to form a breast cancer dragon boat team. From a membership of 2 and no boat in 2010, they now have 60+ active members, a former member of the GB dragon boat team Julie Doyle as their coach and two dragon boats. The team train on the water twice a week from March to November and all year round in their clubhouse on Hanover Quay. They have members aged from late 30’s to 75!