Ten Years in the Making

Last Saturday was a special day to remember! April 30, 2016 marked the 10th anniversary of the Dragon Boat Upstate Festival at Portman Marina, a festive day of fun and competitive paddling, driven by a desire to remember loved ones who have lost their fight with cancer, to give hope to those in the fight, and to honor their caregivers. Upstate businesses, families, cancer survivors, patients & caregivers all come together to paddle, party and raise money for Greenville Health System, funding their innovative cancer care & research programs led by Drs. Larry Gluck, Jeff Edenfield, Julie Martin and many other GHS heroes at http://www.itor-ghs.org.

Always a special occasion, this year’s 10th anniversary Dragon Boat festival was truly exceptional. Together, we set the world record for dragon boat charity events, raising over $580,000 for our fight against cancer. Over $2.2 million has been donated directly to GHS since the Dragon Boat Upstate Festival was begun by Acadia’s own Freeman family in 2006. This wonderful achievement has been propelled by incredible organizing partners: special shout outs to Jim Kaltenbach and his team at GHS’s office of Philanthropy, the SC Ovarian Cancer Foundation, and WINN the Fight Foundation, and many others. Dr. Larry Brotherton, his wife Carmen and their company Ortec Inc. deserve special thanks — for many years they have led the charge as sponsors, along with CountyBank, Sani-King, and all the other businesses, teams and individuals who made this year such a big success. As always, thanks to David Freeman and Portman Marina for graciously hosting the festival and giving us all a place to race.

Congratulations to everyone who paddled against cancer this year! Acadians should be especially proud, as we were part of all three of the top finishing teams. Our neighborhood team, the Ragin’ Cajuns, took home silver for the second year running (and we plan on winning back our gold medals earned in 2013 & 2014). In first place was Fox Fitness / Pure Barre, led by our fellow Acadians Michael & Andrea Fox. Third place was taken by the Fabri-Kal Cancer Containers, who have raced with us since the very beginning thanks to Teresa Cleveland, the wife of Acadia’s Site Manager, Scott Cleveland. Some would say “Home Field Advantage”, but I say it’s just hard work & training combined with desire to win the fight against cancer.

Come join us at next year’s Dragon Boat Upstate Festival. Let’s break more records on and off the water! Go Acadians!


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