Big Blue Dragon Boat Race celebrates breast cancer survivors - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Big Blue Dragon Boat Race celebrates breast cancer survivors

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LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) – The Big Blue Dragon Boat Race is one of the new 2013 Riverfest events.

Saturday 30 teams competed, each powered by a crew of 18 paddlers, a drummer, a flag catcher and a steer person.

The race is hosted by Mayo Clinic Health System-Franciscan Healthcare. Organizers say the race promotes an active lifestyle and breast cancer awareness.

Dragon boat racing dates back to ancient China, but in the last two decades, it's been linked to helping women who had breast cancer surgery avoid or relieve symptoms of lymphedema. Those symptoms include chronic swelling of the arms and legs, according to Mayo Clinic.

"We have a breast cancer survivorship program," said Terri Pedace, the event co-chair. "We decided this would be a great opportunity to have a dragon boat race to celebrate cancer survivorship as well as the teams in the community that wanted to participate."

There is a separate breast cancer division in Saturday's race made up of four competing teams.

Pedace said there's already a waiting list for next year's races.

All money raised will go to the Mayo Clinic Health System-Franciscan Healthcare Center for Breast Care.

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