Beating cancer, one stroke at a time


Published: 1Sep2009

Cedars Cancers Institute Fuller Landau Dragon Boat Race and Festival is launched

Olympic diver Alexandre Despatie is doing it and so is Alexia Calvillo, cancer survivor and wife of Montreal Alouette quaterback Anthony Calvillo. In fact, some 800 Montrealers are participating and more are sure to join. From patients to physicians and athletes, they will all be dipping their oars to support the thousands affected by cancer. Their joint efforts will be put to the test on September 12, 2009 during the annual Cedars Cancers Institute Fuller Landau ‘Rain or Shine’ Dragon Boat Race & Festival.

“When I am on the diving platform I am alone, but I know my fans and family are cheering me on and supporting me. This is what the Cedars CanSupport is doing for all cancer patients. They are cheering for the patients - giving them the care, attention and support they need. We are letting them know they are not alone in their battle with cancer. I am honoured to be a part of the Cedar efforts,” says Mr. Despatie.

September 12:  Paddling for a cause

On September 12, hundreds of men, women and children will come together for the empowering and exhilarating experience of paddling dragon boats to raise money to benefit Cedars CanSupport. These funds will go directly to provide cancer patients and their families with psychological and emotional support, financial assistance, and practical information.

“We cannot begin to tell you how much CanSupport helped us through Alexia's illness,” says Mr. Calvillo.

“The psychological and emotional distress that accompany cancer can be as debilitating as the illness itself,” says Mrs. Calvillo. “I was thankful for the support and assistance I received from CanSupport.” Mrs. Calvillo will be paddling next Saturday.

Anyone can participate

Anyone can participate in dragon boat racing regardless of age and fitness level and no experience is necessary.

“It was quite exhilarating to be physical again, after my illness,” says cancer patient Maria DeSantis. “Knowing that we were all pulling together as a team to help support other patients was extremely fulfilling and uplifting. The whole event boosted my confidence and outlook.”


Thirty-eight paddling teams have already registered for this year’s event. They include participants from Dollarama, Miss Edgar’s and Miss Cramp’s School, HSBC, Fednav and TD banks. Each team of 21 paddlers must raise a minimum of $10,000 to participate. They need public support to achieve their fundraising objectives. To donate, visit

About The Cedars Cancer Institute

The Cedars Cancer Institute is a hospital-based charity that supports comprehensive cancer care and funding to patients and healthcare professionals at the McGill University Health Centre, specifically the Royal Victoria Hospital, the Montreal General Hospital and, through its Sarah Cook Fund, The Montreal Children’s Hospital. Since its inception in 1966, The Cedars Cancer Institute has raised more than $29 million in much-needed funds to purchase state-of-the-art oncology equipment, improve facilities for treatment and care of cancer patients, offer cancer patients and their families free, psycho-social, practical and humanitarian assistance through its Cedars CanSupport program, support cancer research, provide fellowships for visiting professors and improve public awareness of cancer-related issues through lectures and education.

About the McGill University Health Centre

The McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) is a comprehensive academic health institution with an international reputation for excellence in clinical programs, research and teaching. Its partner hospitals are The Montreal Children's Hospital, the Montreal General Hospital, the Royal Victoria Hospital, the Montreal Neurological Hospital and Institute, the Montreal Chest Institute and the Lachine Hospital. Its goal is to provide patient care based on the most advanced knowledge in the health care field, and to contribute to the development of new knowledge.


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