More than a decade later, Mammowarriors still paddling strong
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.