Dragon boats grace Lake Weeroona

LAKE Weeroona was flushed pink as breast cancer survivors hit the water for the Dragons Abreast regatta on Sunday.

Nine teams consisting of 102 paddlers from all over Victoria gathered to compete in four races and partake in a Petals on the Water ceremony, to commemorate past participants who had succumbed to their illnesses.

Dragons Abreast Bendigo coordinator Diane Davidson said teams of breast cancer survivors had been partaking in dragon boating events - such as the Melbourne International Dragon Boat Festival - since 2001.

But she said Sunday's regatta was the first Victorian dragon boating event held solely for breast cancer survivors.

"The atmosphere was really good," Ms Davidson said.

"Everyone was really excited to get together."

She said that participants didn't tend to focus on their hardships but instead simply enjoyed themselves.

"Personally, for me, I don't dwell on being a breast cancer survivor," she said.

"There's moral support if you need it but it's more just a fun time to get on with life and celebrate."

Ms Davidson said the Bendigo dragon boating team paddled on the lake every Wednesday night and most Saturday mornings.

She said most paddlers had only become involved in the sport since being diagnosed with cancer and it was a way of turning a traumatic experience into something positive.

"You put yourself out of your comfort zone and do something you wouldn't normally do," she said.

She said she hoped Dragon Abreast regattas would take place annually across Victoria.

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