Who We Are
Dragon Boat Charleston (DBC) has been redefining caner survivorship since 2003. We are made up of more than 150 cancer survivors and community members in the Lowcountry of South Carolina. DBC hosts recreational and social gatherings throughout the year, has off-season programs like Winter Wellness, and participates in several races each year. Some call it a floating support group, some call it a family. Whatever it is…it’s life changing!
In 2000, Janet Bloch, ANP and Cindy Carter, Ph.D. laid the groundwork for Dragon Boat Charleston, believed to be the first all-cancer survivor team in the U.S. View Liz Oakley's award winning film, Awaken the Dragon to learn more about Dragon Boat Charleston.
We promote physical and mental wellness among cancer survivors and their community through dragon boating.
- Nourish the mind, body and spirit of cancer survivors and their community.
- Provide a resource for our community demonstrating courage, determination and group cooperation.
- Advance the sport of dragon boating by providing recreational and competitive dragon boat opportunities to club members and the community, and promote the inclusion of all cancer survivor teams in dragon boat festivals.
- Advance awareness of the Dragon Boat Charleston model by demonstrating the beneficial effects of our mission on survivorship.
To view our most recent Form 990, please CLICK HERE
DBC Board of Directors
Laura Francis, Chair
Lois Rinehimer, Vice Chair
Andrea Hughes, Treasurer
Rosa Fullerton, Secretary
Tanya Berg, Director
Rita Jones, Director
Desiree Maurer, Director
Debbie Philips, Director and Member Liaison
Donna Rizer, Director
Jim Trusso, Director
Deb Yakunich, Director
August 2000Janet Bloch, ANP and Cindy Carter, Ph.D. receive funding to travel to University of British Columbia to meet with Don McKenzie, MD, Ph.D. and Sandy Smith of Abreast In A Boat.
May 2002Dragon boat arrives in Charleston sponsored by Aventis Pharmaceuticals.
2002-2003Hollings Cancer Center (HCC) dragon boat program put on hold.
April 2003HCC dragon boat program restarted under leadership of Sterling Hannah, Director of Volunteer Services.
Summer 2003Paddlers recruited for first team. Includes both cancer survivors and community volunteers.
October 2003First racing competition at Philadelphia Dragon Boat Festival.
August 2006Medaled in 1st US National Championship.
2007-2008NCI research grant evaluates impact of dragon boating on cancer survivorship. Study design serves as model for DBC outreach program.
May 2008Dragon Boat Charleston established as independent 501c3.
May 20081st Annual Charleston Dragon Boat Festival!
2011Documentary film Awaken the Dragon premieres profiling DBC.
20201st Holiday Festival of Trees
What Our Paddlers Are Saying About DBC
"I had no idea when I started paddling with DBC that it would become an essential part of my life. What started as having fun on the water in 2003 blossomed into a network of friends and a support group that kept me sane as I underwent surgery and chemo in 2005 and again in 2007. It’s an escape from the horrors of cancer, where I am accepted whether I am strong or weak."
"DBC provides a community that accepts everyone where they are physically, as well as emotionally, and allows them to fully participate in a true sport as a team member. Paddling provides a positive challenge for physical and emotional growth, combined with the beauty of the outdoors and just plain fun. It’s good medicine."
"Having cancer revealed my physical vulnerability, produced great fear, and threatened my mortality. DBC enhances my physical strength and makes me fearless. The peacefulness of the water, the drum beating in time with my heart, and the communion between paddlers who have all faced a fearful foe, makes me feel immortal."
"Water is an integral part of the Lowcountry. Getting outside to exercise is important for physical health and mental well-being. A person who has had surgery, been stuck in the infusion room or under a radiation machine (cut, poisoned and burned) doesn’t feel like doing anything. It sucks the strength from a person. You feel that you will never feel human again. You feel ruined. Dragon boating is an opportunity to get outdoors and become one with your body again. You start to feel like maybe you can overcome the cancer toll. You note your surroundings and realize what a great lifestyle the Lowcountry has. The exercise helps build your stamina and brightens your outlook on the future."