Golden girls pad­dle to vic­tory

Marlborough Express - The Saturday Express, Marlborough - - SPORT - RACHEL McFAD­DEN

Six Marl­bor­ough women have re­turned home with the sweet taste of vic­tory af­ter they com­peted in this year’s Dragon Abreast Fes­ti­val in Syd­ney.

Mar­garet Hockey, Ju­lia Dawkins, Denise Neal, Pam Speedy, Sonya Fuld­seth and Donna Booth pad­dled the Dar­ling Har­bour on Satur­day and took out a gold medal for the fastest all­women team of can­cer sur­vivors.

They were joined by five can­cer sur­vivors from the Wairarapa, three from Waikato, one from Christchurch and one from Toronto and a few Aus­tralians to make up a team of 22, called Dragons Abreast In­spi­ra­tion.

The com­pos­ite team com­peted in four 200-me­tre races and also took out the tro­phy for the fastest in the B-grade fi­nal.

Blen­heim’s Ju­lia Dawkins says the team are re­ally happy with their ef­forts and their train­ing as part of Marl­bor­ough’s Sim­ply the Breast dragon boat team stood them in good stead. ‘‘The weather was won­der­ful. We are used to windy con­di­tions in the top of the south but it was re­ally calm in the Dar­ling Har­bour.’’

More than 40 dragon boats with can­cer sur­vivors, sup­port­ers, nurses and doc­tors com­peted in the an­nual Dragon Abreast Fes- tival which aims to aware­ness of breast can­cer.

‘‘It was great to see how many peo­ple were there to sup­port breast can­cer aware­ness,’’ Ju­lia says.

Breast can­cer af­fects 3000 women in New Zealand ev­ery year and 90 women in the Marl­bor­ough-Nel­son area.

Ju­lia joined the Marl­bor­ough’s ‘Sim­ply the Breast’ nine years ago to aide in her re­cov­ery from breast can­cer and has found the so­cial el­e­ment just as heal­ing as the phys­i­cal ex­er­cise.

Dur­ing spring and sum­mer Sim­ply the Breast mem­bers meet twice a week on a Thurs­day and Sun­day at the Blen­heim Row­ing Club to prac­tice.

‘‘It is so calm and peace­ful on the wa­ter. It puts you in the here and now, ‘‘ she says.

raise

Sim­ply the Breast is look­ing for newmem­bers with both can­cer sur­vivors and sup­port peo­ple wel­come to join. For more in­for­ma­tion call Susie Wil­liams on 027 776 6388.

PHOTO: SUP­PLIED

The Dragons Abreast In­spi­ra­tion dragon boat rac­ing team, Marl­bor­ough team mem­bers in pur­ple, back from left, Ju­lia Dawkins, Pam Speedy, Sonja Fuld­seth, Denise Neal, front from left, Mar­garet Hockey and Donna Booth with the rest of the team af­ter win­ning gold at the Dragons Abreast Fes­ti­val.

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