he paddles are put away, the tents have gone back into storage, and paddlers have earned a well-deserved rest, but the spirit of the dragon lives on even after the successful completion of the 16th annual Lake Champlain Dragon Boat Festival.
Sunday, August 7 saw a flurry of activity down at the waterfront. 1,828 participants (including 41 teams paddling) and donors worked together to make the fundraising festival a success. The top fundraising team was Kim’s One Boob Crew–a new community team led by Kim who is recovering from a mastectomy due to breast cancer. Sweet Charity, and Tachy for Ta-Tas also fell in the top three fundraisers. Donations continue to come in in support of this year’s partner, the Cancer Patient Support Foundation.
A highlight of the day was the traditional breast cancer survivor flower ceremony where the breast cancer survivor teams tethered their boats in a flotilla formation, listened to Bonnie Jean Aharonian sing a song written by a daughter of a Dragonheart Vermont member and breast cancer survivor, and paying homage to those diagnosed with breast cancer with sunflowers donated by the Last Resort farm.
Thoughts from Nina Atkinson, Executive Director of DragonHeart Vermont reflect the success of the event. “It was a great day for Vermont's cancer patients. We have missed being here after sheltering from COVID, so this is a special year for us. The weather was hot, but the sun was out and we saw huge smiles both on and off the water. With your help, we at Dragonheart Vermont support breast cancer survivors and cancer survivors. This year, the Cancer Patient Support Foundation shares your pledges, so that they can help Vermont families impacted from cancer. Thank you to all who came out today to have fun for such a great cause.”