Lagan Dragons Prepare To Awaken The Dragon

Kirsty Winter Consumer

Lagan Dragons, Northern Ireland’s only breast cancer survivor dragon boat team, is preparing to bring their new dragon boats to life with a commemorative ‘Awakening the Dragon’ ceremony on Saturday 1 September.

After a hugely successful year, the team has invested in two 40ft dragon boats, with the help of a kind donation from the UK’s largest grant-making breast cancer charity, Walk the Walk.

Walk the Walk is best known for its famous MoonWalks, when walkers take on marathon challenges in London, Edinburgh and Iceland at Midnight wearing brightly decorated bras. Members of the Lagan Dragons team took part in The MoonWalk London, and after hearing about how grants are funded, decided to apply for one themselves.

Nina Barough, CBE, Founder and Chief Executive of Walk the Walk, will be joining Lagan Dragons to bring these boats to life, with the ancient ‘Awakening the Dragon’ ceremony. This Chinese ritual, which involves ‘dotting the dragon’s eye’, is thought to bring good luck to the team.

However, Lagan Dragons have already enjoyed good fortune this year, making waves at the International Breast Cancer Dragon Boat Regatta in Florence earlier this summer after being placed first in the UK and 47th overall against 128 rival dragon boat teams worldwide.

Lagan Dragons was founded by breast cancer survivor Joanne Rock, first setting sail in 2015. The team has now grown to over 60 members and aims to help those affected by breast cancer by providing support, improving fitness and raising awareness.

Jo Myles who is a member of Lagan Dragons said,

“When breast cancer treatment ends, it can sometimes feel like all the support suddenly stops and you are left alone, expected to get on with life as if everything has returned to normal, but hasn’t. Lagan Dragons is a support network like no other it offers a safe place where people can talk, exercise, laugh, cry and even roar if they need to!”

Lagan Dragons is a voluntary club that couldn’t survive without the kind support of charities like Walk the Walk. The club hopes to continue for many years supporting breast cancer survivors of all ages, abilities and from all communities across Northern Ireland.

Anyone who has been affected by breast cancer is welcome to come along to Belfast Boat Club at 10.15am on the last Saturday of each month for an introductory trial session. Lagan Dragon members take so much joy in introducing other breast cancer survivors to this exhilarating sport and helping them to find their inner dragon and hear it roar!

To find out more about the Lagan Dragon Regatta, or receive further information on joining the Lagan Dragons, visit or @Lagandragons on Facebook or Twitter. 

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