Winnipeg winter fails to thwart passion for dragon boating to beat cancer

14 February 2013

Winnipeg, Manitoba -

Bev Taphorn beat cancer twice in her lifetime, and she thought it was gone for good.   But a decade later the cancer returned in a different form and she’s in for the fight of her life.

This weekend 350 paddlers on over 40 teams from across Manitoba to will ‘race’ dragon boats inside at Pan Am Pool, in an effort to help Manitobans just like Bev.  The indoor festival, hosted by the Canadian Cancer Society in partnership with the Manitoba Paddling Association, is the first of its kind in Western Canada – although the sport is very popular in Europe.

The race features teams of eight paddlers and an innovative style of paddling (Check out this video to see how it works) almost like a “push-of-war”, where teams face each other in the same boat in an attempt to paddle the boat to the other end of the pool.  It’s a unique, fun-filled event that will give participants a taste of summer in a festival atmosphere that will have them forgetting about Winnipeg's harsh winter weather.

The event features three classes broken into high school, recreational, competitive and corporate categories. This will bring out a good mixture of people new to the sport as well as some of the province’s top dragon boaters. The festival starts at 9:00 a.m. with category finals starting at noon and final races about 3:30 p.m.

Admission to the event is free.

All of the money raised helps the Cancer Society fight back against ALL cancers in Manitoba by helping to fund cutting-edge research and programs and services that help Manitobans with cancer, like Bev.

“After beating both breast and colon cancer, and being cancer free for almost ten years, I was diagnosed with non-curable bone cancer two years ago,” says Taphorn.  “I am living with this every day, but it has not held me back from doing what I enjoy doing and leading a productive life.  I’m sure that without cancer research, I probably wouldn’t be here.   I’m so grateful for the support I’ve received.”

Taphorn herself is a volunteer with the Canadian Cancer Society’s Peer Support Service that connects people living with cancer and caregivers with trained volunteers who offer encouragement and share ideas for coping – all from the unique perspective of someone who’s been there.    

“Helping others cope with cancer has made coping with my own a little easier,” says Taphorn.

Media are invited to attend the Survivor Ceremony at 12:00pm on Sunday, February 17 at Pan Am Pool in Winnipeg, where Bev Taphorn will share her story and cancer survivors will be honoured.   Interviews with Bev Taphorn or Cancer Society staff will be available.

The festival runs from 9:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. and is open to the public.  The festival will include free entertainment, food vendors, and merchandise throughout the day.

About the Canadian Cancer Society

For 75 years the Canadian Cancer Society has been with Canadians in the fight for life. We have been relentless in our commitment to prevent cancer, fund research and support Canadians touched by cancer. From this foundation, we will work with Canadians to change cancer forever so fewer Canadians are diagnosed with the disease and more survive. When you want to know more about cancer, visit our website at or call our toll-free bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1-888-939-3333.

For more information, please contact:

Jason Permanand

Communications Manager

Canadian Cancer Society


Phone: 204-990-4310