The Pink Piston Paddlers dragon boat team just returned from a trip to Florence, Italy for an international dragon boat festival. (Blair Acton photo)

Pink Piston Paddlers return from international dragon boat festival

Shuswap paddlers travelled to Florence in support of breast cancer survivors

The Pink Piston Paddlers have just returned from attending the International Breast Cancer Participatory Dragon Boat Festival in Florence, Italy.

Twenty two breast cancer survivor paddlers and 15 supporters from the Shuswap, Prince George, Campbell River and Vernon joined to paddle together in the largest female athletic event in the world.

Related: Dragon boaters make contribution to SAFE Society

This festival was founded by Dr. Don Mckenzie of Vancouver, a leading researcher of exercise as a form of breast cancer rehab.

Canada has hosted it twice (the inaugural in Vancouver, 2005, and in Peterborough, 2010). The Pink Piston Paddlers attended the festival in 2007 in Coloundra, Australia.

2018 was the first time the paddling event was held in Europe.

One hundred and 20 teams from 18 countries with 4,000 participants converged at the Cascine Park (formed in 1700s) in Florence.

Val Bradley of Sorrento, as the oldest paddler from Canada, received the honour of being the flag bearer for Canada during the closing ceremonies on July 8.

Blair Acton, who joined the Pink Piston Paddlers as a supporter, says, “It was a pretty amazing experience. One of the things done at a breast cancer festival is the flower ceremony, where boats are wrapped together while a song is played; after a minute of silence, flowers are tossed into the water. It can be pretty emotional, especially for survivors.”

Aside from the flower ceremony, which included 4,000 participants this year, Acton says the most memorable experience was their trip to Venice.

After the festival, six members of the team were able to paddle the canals of Venice with the Pink Lioness team.

“We were passing by all the gondolas, the locals are very jovial and friendly when you paddle by,” she said.

One of the highlights of the trip was the Pink Lioness’s amazing club house, which is in a 700-year-old salt warehouse. The Pink Piston Paddlers appreciate the efforts of Deanne from Vernon for arranging the trip.



Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Several members of the Pink Piston Paddlers dragon boat team made the trip to Italy, going to Florence for the International Breast Cancer Participatory Dragon Boat Fesitival July 6-8 and also paddling the canals of Venice. (Blair Acton photo)

Just Posted

Salmon Arm mayor supports parking solution for hungry truckers

Alternative to Highway 1 suggested for drivers wanting access to McDonald’s

Column: Keeping distance, working together and readying for rebound

Council Report by Salmon Arm Mayor Alan Harrison

Interior Health officials outline pandemic response in virtual town hall

Kelowna-Lake County MLA Norm Letnick moderates digital discussion, Q&A with Interior Health leadership

Shuswap food bank gives away three months of food in one week

High demand in face of COVID-19, Eagle Valley Community Support Society appeals for donations

Second Vernon-area high school exposed to COVID-19

Kalamalka Secondary School staff, students urged to self-isolate if showing symptoms

B.C. veterinarians want to smooth the fur of COVID-19-worried pet owners

Vets expect to continue giving your fur buddies the help they need while social distancing

B.C. VIEWS: Small businesses need our help

Just as integral in neighbourhoods in Vancouver and Surrey as they are in Prince George or Kelowna

‘Tremendous’ response from blood donors has supply keeping pace with demand

About 400,000 of Canada’s 37 million residents give blood on a regular basis

Morning world update: Cases surge past 600,000; positive news in Germany

Spain suffers its deadliest day as Germany considers April 20 to possibly loosen restrictions

VIDEO: Penguins roam empty halls of Vancouver Aquarium

COVID-19 has forced the Vancouver Aquarium to close access to guests – leaving room for its residents

Kids get back to learning in B.C., online

Ministry of Education rolls out new tool for school

Shuswap History in Pictures: Horse power

A horse and buggy brings two passengers into Sicamous in the 1920s.

Most Read