Prairie Dragon Paddlers is a non-profit organization founded to “inspire hope and contribute to the health and well-being of breast cancer survivors through the sport of dragon boating.” The team practices April through October on Homer Lake, and they compete against other teams in the Midwest.
On Friday, they will embark on a trip to New Zealand for the 2023 International Dragon Boat Festival. From the press release:
This worldwide festival is held every three to four years under the auspices of the International Breast Cancer Paddlers’ Commission. It is a non-competitive, participatory event attended by some 4,000-5,000 breast cancer survivor paddlers from 30 countries. In addition to several days of dragon boat racing, they come together to meet in fellowship and to support one another.
Fifteen PDP team members from Champaign and Piatt counties, plus one paddler from the Indy SurviveOars (Indiana’s only breast cancer survivor dragon boat team), will be making the trip to Lake Karapiro, Waikato, on New Zealand’s North Island. In addition to the events and activities of the festival, the travelers will also tour some of the sites in the region and learn more about the indigenous Māori culture.
The ancient sport has become a common rehabilitation practice for those with breast cancer in recent decades.