By Rachel Rossler
The serene waters of False Creek in Vancouver, British Columbia will be the setting for the 35th annual Concord Pacific Dragon Boat festival June 23-25. Among the 200 international teams registered to compete, one local organization will stand out against crystal blue waters, donned in their pink jerseys, pink life vests and, likely, several with pink hair.
Dallas United Pink, a remarkable dragon boat team composed of breast cancer survivors, is preparing to make its presence felt North of the border. This diverse and inspiring group of women from the DFW area hope to showcase their strength and determination. Team Coach Donna Coker expressed her excitement to be able to participate in such a prestigious event. “Dragon boat racing has been instrumental in our healing process,” she said. “Through this sport, we have found strength, sisterhood and the ability to face any challenge head on. We are proud to represent the DFW area and hope to encourage and inspire other breast cancer survivors.”
Preparations for Vancouver began in March when the team kicked off its ninth season. Returning and novice members gather early each Saturday morning at White Rock Lake and condition both on and off the water. A dragon boat is essentially a 22-person canoe and comprised of 20 paddlers, one steer person and one drummer to set the pace. The key to success is teamwork, precision, power and unity.
Team captain and founding member Debbie Kehoe said the team is eager to demonstrate their skills, as well as bond with teams from around the globe. “Events like this allow us to learn from one another, exchange stories and form lasting connections. There is a spirit of camaraderie among breast cancer survivors and, while we are competitive, we are also bound by a collective experience.”
Best wishes to Dallas United Pink. May your winds be calm, waters smooth and paddles mighty. If you or someone you know is a breast cancer survivor and wants information, contact [email protected].