Golden girls paddle to victory
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.
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.
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.