On Saturday, June 13th, Peterborough’s Dragon Boat Festival will celebrate an incredible milestone – 15 years of ensuring the best possible breast cancer diagnosis and treatment is available right here in our community.

One of the community’s most important fundraising events, Peterborough’s Dragon Boat Festival, is marking its milestone 15th anniversary in 2015 and has announced this year’s goal is to raise $215,000 to ensure a strong future for the Breast Assessment Centre at the Peterborough Regional Health Centre (PRHC) by contributing to the purchase of a new, state-of-the-art mammography unit

Lesley Heighway, PRHC Foundation President & CEO, says that the face of breast cancer screening, diagnosis and treatment in this region would be drastically different today without the incredible support of Survivors Abreast, and the thousands of participants, volunteers, donors and sponsors who have supported Peterborough’s Dragon Boat Festival over the past 14 years.

“By choosing to direct the proceeds of the 2015 15th Anniversary Festival to the purchase of a new, state-of-the-art mammography machine for PRHC’s Breast Assessment Centre, you will be continuing this tradition,” Heighway said. “Your support will enable the generation of images of the highest quality, empower our radiologists to make the most precise observations, keep wait times for important answers low, and enable the Breast Assessment Centre to take advantage of technological advances that early results show may have even higher diagnostic accuracy. Thank you for your continued and generous support.”

The fundraising goal was announced earlier today at the official launch of the 2015 Festival, held at Kawartha Credit Union’s new East City Branch and attended by local dignitaries, members of Survivors Abreast (host of the Festival), festival committee members, and other special guests. The event also marked the official opening of team registration for this year’s Festival, which will be held on Saturday, June 13, 2015.

To help reach this year’s fundraising target, the Festival announced a goal to attract 80 community teams to compete in a number of divisions and categories. In celebration of the festival’s 15th anniversary, a number of special initiatives are planned. Back by popular demand will be the bonus 250m Sprint Race for the first eight teams to raise $2,015 in pledges. A renewed focus will also be on the emerging Junior Division, looking for the first 15 paddlers under the age of 15 to register.

“This year we will also be reaching out to people in the community who have touched or been touched by the Festival over the last 15 years – we want to hear from people who have volunteered, paddled, donated, sponsored, supported and spectated,” said new Festival Chair Debbie Keay. “There will be online games like voting for your favourite team name or photo from the past 15 years. We want to hear the stories of how the Festival has impacted individuals in our community and why the Festival is important to all of us. We encourage everyone to get involved and watch for all of our ‘15 for 15’ activities leading up to the Festival.”

Returning to support the Festival for another year is platinum sponsor Kawartha Credit Union, who presented a $15,000 cheque to Survivors Abreast President Karen Stillman and Festival Chair Debbie Keay at the launch.

Robert Wellstood, CEO of Kawartha Credit Union said: “Let me begin by extending our sincere congratulations to the Festival on their 15th Anniversary. Kawartha Credit Union’s Community Involvement Program actively supports initiatives that make a positive difference in peoples’ lives and Peterborough’s Dragon Boat Festival is one such cause. We are proud to participate, for the 14th consecutive year, as the Platinum Sponsor in this exceptional event that unites our community in common purpose and spirit.”

Survivors Abreast President Karen Stillman thanked Kawartha Credit Union for their ongoing support: “Survivors Abreast Dragon Boat Team and Peterborough’s Dragon Boat Festival committee are very privileged to have the continued sponsorship from Kawartha Credit Union. Kawartha Credit Union’s dedication to the Peterborough area by supporting our community Dragon Boat Festival is respected and valued. Kawartha Credit Union’s commitment to their corporate community involvement program will ensure our 15th Dragon Boat Festival will be the place to be!”

The 2014 Festival raised $200,737.03 to support the PRHC’s mammography program with new reporting workstations for radiologists and new breast viewing software. Since its inception in 2001, the Festival has raised more than $2.6 million in support of cancer care and treatment in the Peterborough region.

Registration for the 2015 Festival is now open. Community team captains can register their team online. An early bird registration rate is available until March 10, 2015. The registration deadline is April 14, 2015. All materials and packages, including registration details, are available at the Festival’s website: www.peterboroughdragonboatfestival.com

For more information, please contact: Debbie Keay, Chair, Peterborough’s Dragon Boat Festival, (705) 748-3945 (home), (705) 868-6093 (cell) or info@peterboroughdragonboatfestival.com