Department of Health & Human Services
Premiers Active April

Paddling for Life!

If the ladies over at Dragons Abreast Peninsula Dragonfly’s Club can do it, so can you!

Inspired by an episode of Australian Story featuring the Pink Ladies dragon boat racing club on the mighty Ord River in Western Australia, Patsy Blair formed a dragon boat racing club on the Mornington Peninsula in 2006. Eleven years later the vibrant club boasts more than 60 breast cancer survivors and supporters and is a source of inspiration for all of its members, “to get well, feel healthy, and look good.” Patsy, now 77 years old, was recognised last year with the 2016 Premier’s Healthy and Active Living Award.

Active April News Patsy BlairHaving survived two battles with cancer herself, Patsy is a true example of the Dragon Boat Club’s motto, ‘Paddling for Life’, so it’s no wonder she was nominated by her peers for such a prestigious award. However, when speaking with her she made sure to acknowledge the team effort that was needed to create and maintain the Dragons Abreast community on the Peninsula.

“I think everyone has challenging times and everyone has a story to tell. We are a wonderful group of people and there is such support given when members need it. We are a team of survivors and supporters and without our supporters our club would not have the friendship and strength that they add.”

Although the women finish off their Saturday training sessions with coffee, cake, fruit and a good chat, they are serious about the sport and will spend part of Premier’s Active April competing in the Australian Dragon Boat Championships in Albury/Wodonga. Some of the ladies will even be competing as part of a Victorian State team.

While April is a big month for the club, its members stay active all year round, with weekly paddling sessions, competing at regattas during summer and regular exercise groups in the clubhouse during winter months.

Patsy and the Peninsula Dragonflys Club reassure anyone interested to come and try paddling. It doesn’t take long to get a feel of the boat, become confident on the water and connect to the community. New members are encouraged to do as much or as little as they are able while learning how to paddle and build up their strength, especially as they recover. The club offers three Come and Try sessions so anyone can test the waters before joining.

Active April News Dragon Boating

It’s not all about physical activity. The club also aims to educate its members with regular visitor talks regarding healthy, active living. Many members attend conferences held by Breast Cancer Network Australia and Dragons Abreast Australia.

When asked for her tips to living a healthy active life, Patsy responded simply:

“Enjoy life, you can always get over your hurdles. Always be involved in sport which keeps you fit and active and you meet some wonderful people along the way.”

In addition to Premier’s Active April, the Victorian Government’s Change Our Game campaign aims to increase women’s participation and leadership in sport – an area which is still underrepresented by women. Patsy’s work is a great example of women leading the way in sport on their own terms and setting a game changing example for others to follow.

Active April News Dragon Boat Team

Last updated: March 27, 2017 at: 5:49 pm


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