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'Tears were flowing': Rowbust Dragonboat Festival honours women who recently passed from breast cancer

It was an emotional day on the water.

“There were a lot of hugs, and support as well as remembering,” says Pat Wocks, a member of the Rowbust Dragonboat Team.

Tears were flowing at Fanshawe Lake as the Rowbust drag boat team held a flower ceremony to honour those who have passed due to Breast cancer.

They included two of their own who passed away a day apart in late May.

“The last two weeks have been really, really hard for us and we lost our coach the last two weeks and a teammate so you know it's bittersweet,” says Linda Kuska, Rowbust captain.

Bev Jorgensen joined Rowbust in 2018 and was described as someone with an intense work ethic and love for fitness.

Members of Rowbust Dragonboat Team throw flowers in Fanshawe Lake as part of a ceremony to honour teammates who recently passed away in London, Ont. on Saturday, June 10 2023 (Brent Lale/CTV News London)

Coach Sarah Shelland was a world champion, but to Rowbust, she was family.

She joined the team as a coach with partner Cheryl McLachlan.

“After a year long battle with a terminal illness Osteosarcoma, we had the 24-hour surgery at Mount Sinai, came out well the doctor was pleased but Sarah’s body was angry and it was her time,” says McLachlan.

Saturday’s 10th annual event had 48 community teams, 1,200 participants and nearly 1,000 spectators.

Over the past decade this festival has raised over $100,000 for the breast cancer patient fund and regional cancer program at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC).

The annual Rowbust Dragonboat Festival has raised over $100,00 for breast cancer in London, Ont. on Saturday, June 10, 2023 (Brent Lale/CTV News London)

“That helps with wigs, transportation, childcare, medications, prosthesis and things that people out local community can’t afford” says Kuska.

While the emotions were fresh, these women pushed on like they’ve done many times before over the years.

“This is the hardest one I’ll ever do,” says McLachlan.

“We’ll feel Sarah and Bev on the water. It’s difficult but they wouldn’t have it any other way.” Top Stories

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