Rose Regatta Dragon Boat Festival set for Saturday

In the race to fight breast cancer, Dignity Health has added sport and teamwork to the chase.

Beginning at 8 a.m. Saturday, about 1,800 people will vie for the top spot in the dragon boat race as part of the Rose Regatta Dragon Boat Festival at Lake Las Vegas Marina to benefit St. Rose Dominican Hospitals’ R.E.D. Rose Program and WomensCare Centers of Excellence breast health services.

Because early detection is key to breast cancer survival, R.E.D. (responsible, early detection) Rose races to fund services for uninsured and underinsured locals 49 and younger who need mammographies, clinical exams, ultrasounds, biopsies and consultations.

Last year, the Rose Regatta Dragon Boat Festival raised $112,000 to help fund R.E.D. Rose. In 2015 and 2016 combined, the R.E.D. Rose Program served more than 1,440 women seeking breast health services and identified 13 cancer diagnoses.

The hospital added four more boats to its original fleet of four this year and hopes to net $120,000 from the event, now in its ninth year.

Teams of 22 people — 20 rowers, a drummer and a steersperson — will race in heats all day on Lake Las Vegas. Entry fees for the races are the bulk of the event’s fundraising.

Sponsorships start at $2,5000, local team entry costs $1,000, and individual entries are $50. Entry fees for breast cancer survivor teams are waived.

“The teams range from corporate groups to families to community clubs and friends who have come together for this important cause,“ said Jennifer Cooper, communications manager for Dignity Health.

Not into the all-day dragon boat heats? Hit up some of the other family-friendly activities at the free festival such as yoga, cardio, tai chi, Zumba sessions, dance and drum performances, Japanese archery demonstrations and Chinese acrobats.

As part of the festival, Dignity Health has worked to honor survivors as well as remember cancer patients who have passed.

“Each year, the Flowers on the Water Memorial is one of our most poignant visuals during the race day,” Cooper said.

Survivors and support teams can purchase flowers to toss into the water at the memorial site to honor women and men living with cancer and/or who died from cancer. An area will also be marked off for festivalgoers to toss flowers and reflect on the memorial.

An outdoor gallery will feature painted paddles, which can be purchased for $10 to be painted in honor of a man or woman affected by breast cancer. Paddles painted by local artists will also be auctioned to benefit R.E.D. Rose.

Chinese lanterns, on sale for $5, will light the floating stage in the Lake Las Vegas Village “in symbolism of our efforts to light the way to more funding for un- and underinsured women and men affected by breast cancer,” Cooper said.

“As the only nonprofit hospital system in the Las Vegas area, the money we raise goes directly to the community programs we support.”

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