Paddle with a Purpose – The Dragon Boat Festival Gets Set to Sail Once Again

June 4, 2022

Written By

Mary Friona Celani

It’s one of the most inspirational events Buffalo has to offer.

See the majestic sport of Dragon Boat Racing at the Hope Chest Annual Buffalo Niagara Dragon Boat Festival℠.  It’s a day of dragon boat racing and fun-filled activities for the whole family.
For those unfamiliar with the sport, dragon boating is a boat of 20 paddlers, a drummer and a steer person. It is a team sport that requires power, speed, synchronization, and endurance.

 

No experience is needed to join in the Dragon Boat Festival. They will teach you how to paddle!
Teams represent local Western New York corporations, breast cancer survivors, police, firefighters, and other community organizations.

With its beginnings in Southern China, dragon boating today is the fastest growing international team water sport and soon to be an Olympic event. Race festivals are held year-round at numerous locations around the world and now proudly in Buffalo, New York.

Along with the races, you’ll find family and children’s activities, entertainment, food and drinks, a basket raffle and much more.

So what is Hope Chest?

Hope Chest was created through a friendship and a shared interest in exercise. The founder and her close friend, Nina, aspired to become personal trainers. Despite a diagnosis of breast cancer, Nina continued to exercise whenever possible and was determined to make a difference in the lives of breast cancer survivors. Together they created a wellness program called Hope Chest, which began in January 2000.

Shortly after the program inception, research conducted by Dr. Don McKenzie of Vancouver, British Columbia inspired the unique program that is offered by Hope Chest. Dr. McKenzie dispelled the myth that breast cancer survivors should refrain from repetitive upper body exercises to prevent lymphedema – a permanent and sometimes incapacitating swelling of the arm and chest area that sometimes occurs after breast cancer surgery and treatment. His research found that specific upper body movements could actually reduce the occurrence of lymphedema.

Dragon boat racing is especially effective in working the muscle groups that benefit breast cancer survivors.

This research enabled Dr. McKenzie to form the first “all breast cancer survivors” dragon boat team (Abreast-In-A-Boat).

Sadly, Nina lost her eight-year battle in May 2000, only a few months before the Hope Chest Team competed in their first race. Nina’s dream of encouraging breast cancer survivors to live unrestricted, active lifestyles lives on. Her spirit and influence are reflected in the name Luminina which means “Light of Nina”.

The group, the race, the event – it means the world to breast cancer survivors. We asked for some feedback to share with you.

Although, I am not joyful that I had breast cancer and had to take that journey, I am happy that the journey led me to Hope Chest and the appreciation of life. I encourage any person that is diagnosed with breast cancer, or any cancer, to remain positive through the course and know that there is life after cancer. In my case, it is a full and thriving life which has an emphasis on health and well-being and enjoying and experiencing new adventures; this is thanks to the camaraderie and support from Hope Chest.
~Jane R

Becoming a member of Hope Chest really was the light at the end of the tunnel for me after breast cancer. The exercise and nutrition classes have helped me improve my health and physical condition. When the gyms were closed during the pandemic, the live online exercise classes helped me get through those dark days. But the best parts of Hope chest are the paddling program and the support of the other members. The teamwork and camaraderie we have in the practices and festivals is amazing. There’s nothing like being out on the water on a beautiful summer night.
I feel very fortunate to have this program available to me and am thankful to everyone who work so hard to keep it going strong.
~Lorraine M

Looking for a support group for Breast Cancer I found so much more with Hope Chest. It truly has changed my life both mentally and physically.
~Cindy M

 

 

I’ve had the

Although, I am not joyful that I had breast cancer and had to take that journey, I am happy that the journey led me to Hope Chest and the appreciation of life. I encourage any person that is diagnosed with breast cancer, or any cancer, to remain positive through the course and know that there is life after cancer. In my case, it is a full and thriving life which has an emphasis on health and well-being and enjoying and experiencing new adventures; this is thanks to the camaraderie and support from Hope Chest.

~Jane R

 

Becoming a member of Hope Chest really was the light at the end of the tunnel for me after breast cancer. The exercise and nutrition classes have helped me improve my health and physical condition. When the gyms were closed during the pandemic, the live online exercise classes helped me get through those dark days. But the best parts of Hope chest are the paddling program and the support of the other members. The teamwork and camaraderie we have in the practices and festivals is amazing. There’s nothing like being out on the water on a beautiful summer night.

I feel very fortunate to have this program available to me and am thankful to everyone who work so hard to keep it going strong.

~Lorraine M

 

Looking for a support group for Breast Cancer I found so much more with Hope Chest.  It truly has changed my life both mentally and physically. 

~Cindy

 

I’ve had the privilege of meeting quite of few of the amazing Hope Chest Crew members – and I can tell you – they are not only wonderful, but they are inspiring, too!!!!

 

The Hope Chest Buffalo Niagara Dragon Boat Festival will once again be held at Buffalo RiverWorks. The venue has spectacular waterfront views and abundant viewing areas, vendors, and a large concession area.

When:
Saturday June 18, 2022
Time:
7:45 AM – 5:00 PM
Where:
Buffalo RiverWorks
359 Ganson Street
Buffalo, NY 14203

 

Find more information, get in on the race, or sponsor the event – by CLICKING HERE.

 

About Me

Welcome to Totally Buffalo! My name is Mary Friona-Celani and I am the creator of this site! After spending 20 years in the Buffalo media, I moved on to focus on my beautiful family. Now, the time has come for a new project. I was ready for something new. Something mine.
I am born and raised in WNY and my pride runs deep. My husband, Scott and I are very happy to be raising our four daughters here.

Advertisement

 

Advertisement

 

0 Comments

Submit a Comment