IU Simon Cancer Center, Clarian Health bring dragon boat racing to Indiana


INDIANAPOLIS – April 2 , 2008 -- Don’t be alarmed if you see a pink dragon gliding across the water at Geist Reservoir on April 13. 


The Indy SurviveOars dragon boat will be filled with 22 women – all Hoosier breast cancer survivors – paddling to support each other emotionally and physically while raising awareness about breast cancer.


Sponsored by the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center and Clarian Health, the Indy SurviveOars dragon boat will be launched for the first time at Geist Marina. Festivities  begin at 2 p.m. at Bella Vita Ristorante, 10158 Brooks School Road, Fishers.


 A special “dotting of the eye” ceremony will be presided over by Fuad Hammoudeh, Clarian cancer programs administrator and administrator of the IU School of Medicine's hematology/oncology division.


This ceremony involves the dragon’s eyes being painted red, which signifies the release of the spirit of the boat. After the dotting of the eye ceremony, the team will launch the dragon boat and paddle under the Fall Creek Bridge. Guests will be invited to throw pink carnations over the bridge as the boat passes underneath. 


The Indy SurviveOars is a group of dedicated breast cancer survivors and supporters from Indianapolis and surrounding areas who are introducing dragon boat racing to Indiana. 


Dragon boat racing began in China more than 2,000 years ago but didn’t emerge in North America until the 1980s. It is now considered to be the fastest growing team water sport in the world. A drummer beats the pace and a steer person guides the 43-foot-long craft on its course.


The Indy SurviveOars boat will be the first dragon boat team in Indiana and the first pink custom boat that long-time boat manufacturer, Swift Dragon Boats of China, has made. IndySurviveOars is the first dragon boat team in North America to have the head, drum, and tail of its boat custom painted. 


For more information, visit www.indysurviveoars.org