This festival originated in China thousands of years ago; and today, these races take place in 70 countries around the world, with food and music festivals surrounding this fun-filled and colorful event.
Dragon boat races have attracted many professional paddlers as well as amateur and inexperienced paddlers, and each boat seats 20, in addition to a navigator and a drummer, who sets the pace with his/her voice, or according to the beat of the drum.
The Israeli Dragon Boat Festival is a joint UIA Federations Canada and Jewish Community of Ottawa, Canada initiative. Among the paddlers was a group of women belonging to "Yad Lehachlama" - "Reach to Recovery" - a volunteer organization which is part of ICA. Volunteer breast cancer survivors who have been specially trained, provide consultation, visit patients in hospitals, provide support and consultation regarding prostheses, etc., free of charge.
These breast cancer patients and survivors participated in paddling activity which mainly involved the upper portion of the body, and has been scientifically shown to increase the range of motion, activate the muscular and skeletal system as well as depleted muscles, boosts the immune system, and get the lymphatic system back in working order.
Additionally, the team spirit and feeling of "togetherness" contributed to patients' and survivors' emotional reinforcement so that they can better cope with the disease and its implications.
This activity was partially funded by Roche Pharmaceuticals, the company orchestrating the "Roche Lends a Hand" project.
To contact "Yad Lehachlama" volunteers, please call: 1-800-36-07-07.