The Pink Piston Paddlers have returned from attending the International Breast Cancer Participatory Dragon Boat Festival in Florence, Italy.
Twenty-two breast cancer survivors paddlers and 15 supporters from Shuswap, Prince George, Campbell River and Vernon joined to paddle together is this amazing event. It is the largest female athletic event in the world.
This is the first time this paddling event was held in Europe. One hundred and 20 teams from 18 countries with 4,000 participants converged at the Cascine Park (formed in the 1700s) in Florence. Teams came from Brazil, Denmark, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, Sweden, UK, U.S., Argentina, and Canada.
Canada has hosted it twice (the inaugural in Vancouver, 2005, and in Peterborough, 2010). The Pink Piston Paddlers attended the Festival in 2007 in Coloundra, Australia.
Val Bradley, from Sorrento, as the oldest paddler from Canada, received the honour being the flag bearer for Canada for the closing ceremony. After the festival, six of the teams were able to paddle the canals of Venice with the Pink Lioness team. This was one of the highlights of the trip. Their amazing clubhouse is in a 700-year-old salt warehouse.
Thank you, Deanne, from Vernon for arranging this for us.