More than a decade later, Mam­mowar­riors still pad­dling strong

The Victoria Standard - - Health / Community - SEAN MAC­DOUGALL

The Boularderie Mam­mowar­riors are cel­e­brat­ing this year af­ter fundrais­ing $30,057 for the Can­cer Pa­tient Care Fund (CPCF). The Mam­mowar­riors gath­ered on Aug. 11 at the Big Fid­dle in Syd­ney to com­pete in the an­nual Cape Bre­ton Union­ized Trades Dragon Boat Fes­ti­val. The fes­ti­val, an an­nual fundraiser for the CPCF, sees dragon boat teams from as far away as Dart­mouth com­pet­ing.

San­dra Kay is a mem­ber of the Mam­mowar­riors and heads up a lot of fundrais­ing ac­tiv­i­ties through­out the year. From raf­fles on quilts do­nated to the team, to sell­ing baked goods at the Ross Ferry farm­ers mar­ket, all funds raised by the team go di­rectly to help can­cer pa­tients with costs that aren’t cov­ered by in­sur­ance.

“We heard a story of a young man who had can­cer and one of the side ef­fects was that it da­m­aged his teeth,” said team cap­tain Graca Hol­lett. “The Can­cer Pa­tient Care Fund was able to give him his smile back.”

The Mam­mowar­riors is com­prised of women and men of Boularderie Is­land. Orig­i­nally cre­ated by Kay’s neigh­bour, the team has now been to­gether for 11 years. Over those years, Mam­mowar­riors has raised over $200,000 for the CPCF.. Those funds go to­wards things like ac­com­mo­da­tions for out of town treat­ment, gas money for ap­point­ments, and any­thing that can pro­vide hope for a pa­tient’s fu­ture.

“A young woman who had ovar­ian can­cer be­fore she had her treat­ment - the Can­cer Pa­tient Care Fund was able to sup­port the freez­ing of some of her eggs,” Hol­lett said.

Un­der one of the shel­ters in the “tent city” area on the Syd­ney wa­ter­front, the Mam­mowar­riors had gath­ered to en­joy snacks and each other’s com­pany in the morn­ing be­fore be­ing led by bag­pipes play­ing “Scot­land the Brave” to their boat for their 9:00am and 11:00 am races. Each race had four boats of 20 pad­dlers dash down a 220-me­tre course in front of the docks. The Mam­mowar­riors’ first race had them in a three-way tie for first at one minute and nine sec­onds, and their sec­ond race fin­ish­ing fourth place.

The Mam­mowar­riors al­ways fin­ish their year of fundrais­ing by do­nat­ing a cheque for the full amount of the year’s funds to the Cape Bre­ton Re­gional Hos­pi­tal Foun­da­tion that over­sees the CPCF. With the 2018 fes­ti­val be­hind them, the team be­gins fundrais­ing for next year’s Dragon Boat Fes­ti­val.

With pad­dles up, the Mam­mowar­riors leave the dock for the 220 me­tre, four-lane course. Photo by Sean Mac­dougall / The Vic­to­ria Stan­dard.

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