The Friends Abreast Dragon Boat Team was born 20 years ago and has been providing support, camaraderie and exercise for dragon boaters since, as well as supporting charities and raising awareness of breast cancer and mammograms. (Contributed)

The Friends Abreast Dragon Boat Team was born 20 years ago and has been providing support, camaraderie and exercise for dragon boaters since, as well as supporting charities and raising awareness of breast cancer and mammograms. (Contributed)

Shuswap’s Friends Abreast celebrates 20 years of paddling, supporting women’s health

Other teams followed in its wake, with several dragon boat festivals held in Salmon Arm

In the fall of 2001, a group of people gathered in a meeting room in Shuswap Lake General Hospital with the goal of starting a dragon boat team in the Shuswap.

The response was overwhelming, and with a lot of work and a lot of fundraising, they were successful. The Shuswap Dragon Boat Society was born.

A boat was purchased and launched the following spring. Since that time more than 160 people have joined the society and have been involved with the Friends Abreast team and their activities. As people were inspired, other teams were formed.

Several Dragon Boat festivals have been held at the Salmon Arm Wharf.

Besides paddling twice a week on Shuswap Lake, our teams have participated in many festivals over the years. Our team also is often involved with supporting charities, especially those for breast cancer support. In October, Breast Cancer Awareness month, we have campaigns to encourage women to have regular mammograms.

Our current focus is fundraising to support the Shuswap Hospital Foundation Mammography Unit.

A 20th Anniversary Celebration of the Friends Abreast team will be held at the Salmon Arm Marine Peace Park on Thursday, May 26 from 6 to 7 p.m. All former members, current paddlers and family members are invited to join the celebration.

Submitted by the Friends Abreast dragon boat team




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