Dragon Boat Upstate Festival sets world record, supports cancer survivors

GREENVILLE, S.C.—Angels, Avengers, Big Daddies, Ragin’ Cajuns and many others play an important role in the care of patients with the Cancer Institute of Greenville Health System, and this year they set a world record along the way to providing a dose of hope for cancer survivors through their fundraising and team spirit.

The 10th Annual Dragon Boat Upstate Festival raised a world record $580,000 to support research and survivorship programs offered by the GHS Cancer Institute, GHS’ Institute for Translational Oncology Research (ITOR) and other organizing partners.

“When a community of like-minded individuals become focused on an event to raise funds to fight a common foe, like cancer, everything becomes possible,” said Larry Brotherton, whose company Ortec, Inc., is the presenting sponsor of the fundraiser. “This year, the Dragon Boat Upstate Festival is an exceptional example of our community’s spirit and passion. All of us are blessed to be a part of this event. These Dragon Boat funds go to support the world-class research and life enhancement programs at the GHS Cancer Institute. Cancer has not yet been defeated; the fight continues until victory is ours.”

The 10th Annual Dragon Boat Upstate Festival included 27 teams that raced across Lake Hartwell. Each team was asked to raise a minimum of $3,500. This year’s event sponsors were Ortec, Inc., Countybank, Foundation Medicine, Jani-King, cb events and Hale’s Jewelers.

Fox Fitness/Pure Barre won the race in 52 seconds, a record-setting time for the event.

This year’s gifts from the festival will fund equipment for the GHS Cancer Institute to better study molecules to identify targets for the disease, cancer survivorship programs to support patients and their partners, expansion of the GHS Blood and Marrow Transplant Unit and other local programs assisting cancer survivors and their families.

“The amount of hope witnessed on the water at the Dragon Boat Upstate Festival is unmatched in my career as an oncologist,” said Dr. Larry Gluck, medical director of the GHS Cancer Institute. “Each year, I’m even more amazed by the support of the families that work so hard on this event. Our teams have become a family. We start planning and working in November and our $580,000 world fundraising record is a reflection of the sense of community that makes Greenville such an amazing place to live.”

Matt Smith, president of 22 Dragons, a company that organizes dragon boat races around the world, was also impressed with the Upstate.

“As a director of dozens of races all over North America and the world, I have never seen a more supportive community than the Upstate of South Carolina and its festival,” Smith said. “It is unmatched in two important things, the level of emotion and people giving.”

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