Dragon boats come to Cooper River Park July 18

 (Shutterstock image)

(Shutterstock image)

South Jersey finally gets its own dragon boat competition with the inaugural Cooper River Dragon Boat Festival on July 18.
 
Twenty-seven teams of 16 to 20 paddlers, plus a drummer, will compete in 200-meter races from the Camden County Boathouse in Cooper River Park.  
 
“We felt the Cooper River was an ideal location and we thought it would be fun to throw our own party,” stated the event’s spokesperson, Linda Smith Abbaszadeh.
 
Teams are divided into three divisions:  community (novice and intermediate), competitive (co-ed and women only) and breast cancer survivors (women only).  
 
Smith Abbaszadeh says there’s a special relationship between dragon boat racing and women who have battled cancer.
 
Breast cancer survivors were once cautioned to limit use of their arms to avoid lymphedema, chronic swelling and fluid retention often caused by cancer treatments.  That protocol was successfully challenged by Canadian sports medicine physician, Donald McKenzie, who formed the first breast cancer survivors dragon boat crew in 1996.
 
His findings launched a movement that has helped dragon boat racing become one of the world’s fastest growing water sports, Smith Abbaszadeh noted. 
 
The festival’s organizers, sister teams River Sirens and River Sisters, are part of that movement.
 
MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper in Camden, the festival’s sponsor, formed a partnership with the River Sirens to purchase a boat and form River Sisters, a breast cancer survivor team.  
 
July 18, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. – 7050 N. Park Dr., Pennsauken Twp., NJ.
 
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This post is part of our South Jersey Events Listing

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