Who We Are
Dragon Boating, a sport that originated in China over 2000 years ago, is one of the fastest growing sports in the world. Twenty paddlers sit two abreast in colorful 48-foot vessels while paddling to the beat of a drummer, the heartbeat of the dragon. View the trailer of award winning film, Awaken the Dragon to learn more about the origin of Dragon Boat Charleston.
Dragon Boat Charleston (DBC) is made up of about 150 members in the Lowcountry of South Carolina. Some are cancer-survivors, some are community paddlers, some are premiere racers and some like to watch the sunset on the Ashley River. There is a boat for everyone at DBC! DBC participates in 4-5 races per year, has off-season programs like yoga and nutrition classes and numerous social and recreational gatherings throughout the year. Some call it a “floating support group,” some call it a family. Whatever it is…it’s fun! You’ve got to check it out!
We promote the physical and mental health of cancer survivors and their community through dragon boating.
DBC has been paddling hard since 2003 with the mission of promoting physical and mental wellness among cancer survivors and their community. DBC members can be seen almost any day of the week on the river, preparing for upcoming races, pushing themselves to physical limits or enjoying the sunset while on a paddling break.
- Nourish the mind, body and spirit through healthy living with year-round, club-based fitness activities such as dragon boating, winter fitness challenges, nutritional counseling and fellowship.
- Provide a resource for our community demonstrating courage, determination and group cooperation by being a positive role model through survivor outreach as well as providing community education about the benefits of nutrition and exercise for cancer prevention, treatment and survivorship.
- Advance the sport of dragon boating by providing competitive and non-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 through community partnerships and collaboration with medical providers.
DBC Board of Directors
Susan Collins, President
Lucy Spears, Vice President
Kelly Hood, Treasurer
Mariane Stefano, Secretary
Cindy Carter, Founder
Dick Evans, Member-at-Large
Louise Graff, Founder
Sterling Hannah, Founder
Charles Hubbard, Member-at-Large
Noreen Powers, Founder
Dorothy Soranno, Member-at-Large
Jim Trusso, Member-at-Large
Kelsey Willey, Member-at-Large
Finance: Kelly Hood, Chair
Outreach: Andrea Seiderman, Lois Rinehimer, Betty Maher, Co-Chairs
Fundraising: Laura Francis and Mariane Stefano, Co-Chairs
Management: Neves Richards and Board
Water and Safety: Jim Trusso, Chair
Wellness: Alice Bova and Annette D'Aquisto, Co-Chairs
*Neves Richards serves on Outreach, Fundraising and Management committees as staff liaison and the Program Coordinator serves on Water and Wellness committees as staff liaison
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."