After taking fourth-place honors in an international dragon-boat competition for breast cancer survivors, Sarasota County Commissioners will recognize the Survivors In Sync paddlers during their meeting Aug. 29.
Survivors In Sync (SIS) finished behind teams from Canada, New Zealand and the United States in the International Breast Cancer Paddlers Commission (IBCPC) Dragon Boat Festival, which drew thousands to Florence, Italy, in July.
SIS is one of several community programs offered at NBP by the park’s administrator, Suncoast Aquatic Nature Center Associates (SANCA). It’s one of two dragon boat community team programs at the park.
“It’s a huge honor to have this recognition for our efforts and dedication to becoming a top team in the world,” said Angela Long, who coaches SIS for SANCA. “We appreciate all the support we’ve received from SANCA and our community to achieve this goal.”
IBCPC’s international festival draws thousands of breast cancer survivors from around the world to network, attend workshops, paddle and celebrate recovery. Nathan Benderson Park (NBP) played host to the event in 2014.
Breast cancer survivor dragon boating began in 1996, when Dr. Don McKenzie, a sports medicine professor, exercise physiologist, and avid dragon boater, developed a program to determine the impact of exercise on breast cancer survivors.
He trained 24 breast cancer volunteers in a gym for three months, and then introduced them to dragon boats and taught them paddling techniques. At the end of the three-month season, none of the volunteers had lymphedema. They were also more fit and happier as a result of the exercise and camaraderie with their new team of friends.