"Pinks" Among 129 teams of Survivors Bound for Italy

Portland, OR -- Between June 29 and July 5, 45 members of the Pink Phoenix™ dragon boat team will arrive in Florence, Italy for the International Breast Cancer Paddlers Commission (IBCPC) Dragon Boat Festival. Instituted in 2005, the event is held every four years in countries around the world. The festival is an international non-competitive participatory event targeting Breast Cancer Survivors teams who engage in Dragon Boat activities as post-operative rehabilitation.

  1. Pink Phoenix team from Portland will field two boats in Italy: Heart and Soul. Each boat will have 22 members on board who will all participate in the events scheduled on July 6-8 in Florence. paddlers will begin arriving from Portland on June 30 and hold their first organized practice in Italy on July 5.

Pink Phoenix paddler Mary Hudy is one of the women traveling to Europe to the festival.

“Going to Italy to attend the breast cancer regatta is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” said Hudy, “We are paddling with women from around the world with one common bond: breast cancer. That bond makes us unified and strong.”

Team member Cathy Schwab sees the trip as “an opportunity to bond with the larger BCS community in an inspiring, powerful, and life-affirming event. It will be a positive memory for the rest of my life.”

According to the festival website, “this year’s event will welcome 129 teams from 17 countries, and for the very first time, all the continents will be represented.”

The event will bring together more than 4,000 people from around the world. The participants are mainly women between the ages of 20 and 80 who will meet to take part in the exciting Dragon Boat races, paddling together on the Arno River.

Pink Phoenix Dragon Boat Team was the first all-survivor team to form in the USA. In the last decade, the team has competed in races in the Northwest including Olympia, Tacoma, San Diego, and around the world in Australia, Canada, and other countries.

Dorothy Atwood assembled the Pink Phoenix™ in 1997 and the team began competing the following year with 29 members. She started the team in order to “demonstrate the quality of life breast cancer survivors can achieve.” Although she had not battled the disease herself, Atwood, an avid dragon boat paddler, believed that the team could promote wellness, fitness, fun, and camaraderie through the sport.

Since 1997, Pink Phoenix™ has grown from 29 original members to a team of over 90 women. The first dragon boat team of its kinds in the United States, Pink Phoenix™ has raced in Rose Festival every year since 1997.

The team coaches are two members of the Amazon Dragon Boat Team, a group comprising LGBTQ members from the Portland area. Coach Alice Alleman has been with the team for 8 years and Anita Stacey, 3 years. They will be traveling with Pink Phoenix to Italy.

“One of the best things about coaching this team is seeing the joy these women exude as they use strength already within them to become powerful athletes on the water,” said Alleman.

“The Heart and Soul race crews have stepped up to the challenge of preparing for an international race event with determination and pride. They are ready to represent Pink Phoenix in Italy this summer, and I am extremely excited to see us rise!”

Pink Phoenix is active in the DragonSports USA community and participates in outreach programs and events including Portland Pickles, 2018 Girlfriends Triathlon, Fitness Festival, and PP Cares: SOLVE River Clean up (visit http://pinkphoenix.org/events/outreach for more info).

Lori Godfrey, President of Pink Phoenix™, said the group provides “social, emotional and spiritual support for breast cancer survivors, and strives to provide hope to those newly diagnosed.”

Godfrey adds, “recent research indicates exercise can also keep cancer from recurring.”

IBCPC Dragon Boat Festival 2018

The water activities at the festival will take place in Florence, on the Arno River at The Cascine Park. The park, "situated near the historic city center, is Florence’s largest public park with an area of about 130 hectares along the Arno River. Rich in plant life, with vast lawns, walks, and path, The Cascine Park is the favorite spot to play sports or to relax while enjoying the nature and the quiet of the area.”


Pink Phoenix™ Dragon Boat Team is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with a volunteer board and no paid employees. Pink Phoenix™ is a member of DragonSports USA, the Pacific Dragon Boat Association, and the International Breast Cancer Paddlers' Commission. More at http://www.pinkphoenix.org and https://www.facebook.com/PDXpinkphoenix/

Contact Info:
Pink Phoenix Dragon Boat Team Media Contact: Ilene McMurray, (971) 404-7187, [email protected]

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