Europa Donna Ireland wins €10k from Coca Cola’s Thank You Fund 2013

Pictured are Julie Doyle, Chairperson of the Irish Dragon Boat Association and Tara Byrne, Secretary of Europa Donna Ireland.
Today we are sharing the exciting news that Europa Donna Ireland has been selected as one of 11 worthwhile winners of the 2013 Coca Cola Thank You Fund.

Pictured are Julie Doyle, Chairperson of the Irish Dragon Boat Association and Tara Byrne, Secretary of Europa Donna Ireland.
Today we are sharing the exciting news that Europa Donna Ireland has been selected as one of 11 worthwhile winners of the 2013 Coca Cola Thank You Fund.  The Coca Cola Thank You Fund, in its 3rd year, invites not-for- profit, charitable and voluntary organisations from across Ireland to submit a project for consideration of a slice of their €125k fund. There are 10 winners of €10k and one winner of €25k.
 
Europa Donna Ireland in conjunction with the Irish Dragon Boat Association submitted an entry and are delighted to have been chosen as one of the €10k winners.  We are so grateful to Coca Cola for establishing and continuing with this nationwide initiative, which encourages volunteer organisations to challenge themselves and deliver innovative projects for their local communities.  The 2013 Coca Cola Thank You Fund is designed to support projects and initiatives which are having a positive impact on on the quality of life of communities in the island of Ireland with a specific focus on innovative solutions to help communities be more active and healthy.  
 
Europa Donna Ireland has joined up with the Irish Dragon Boat Association on a project that will promote physical activity and healthy nutrition for breast cancer survivors as well as other types of cancer survivors, teenagers and the wider community.  The project hopes to improve survival rates of those diagnosed with breast cancer, as well as managing and preventing some side effects of breast cancer treatment, such as lymphoedema, a chronic swelling of the arm. Research in Canada has shown that those treated for breast cancer could avoid or better manage lymphoedema by following a special exercise and dragon boat training programme.  This programme will aid people in enjoying an active life and benefit from the psychological support that a breast cancer survivor dragon boat team provides.
 
Europa Donna Ireland intends to use the Dragon Boat project to engage with groups throughout Ireland to help eliminate some of the myths and fears surrounding the perception of breast cancer and to validate the message that physical activity is beneficial at all stages of our life.
 
We will deliver the programme in a simple, practical way across Ireland to:
1) Promote the benefits of dragon boating for breast cancer survivors, other cancer groups and generally people of all ages.
2) Encourage people to lead a healthy lifestyle and to create a renewed and ongoing interest in sport.
3) Demonstrate that sport can be fun and that dragon boating is particularly geared to family inclusion.
 
Europa Donna Ireland and the Irish Dragon Boat Association will promote the benefits of dragon boating for breast cancer survivors (over 25k in Ireland), other cancer groups, teenagers and adults as it is a dynamic team water sport which is accessible to all age groups and levels of fitness. National and international research clearly indicates that physical activity and a healthy lifestyle can reduce the chances of getting cancer by 30-40%. Encouraging regular physical exercise from the earliest possible age is desirable to give the message to children and adults to continue exercising throughout their life.
 
We aim initially to work with cancer survivors via a road show taken to communities across all corners of Ireland including areas that do not have easy access to cancer support centers.  We will bring the dragon boats to water venues and conduct land and water based sessions with breast cancer survivors giving information on dragon boating, exercise and nutrition in 3 hour sessions- 1 hour classroom and 2 hour water based.
 
Dragon boating is an exciting and growing sport in Ireland.  The first Irish team, the Plurabelle Paddlers, a breast cancer support team was established in Dublin 2010.  Since then we have seen the establishment of breast cancer support dragon boat teams in Cork, Clonmel, Waterford and Carlow. 
 
The Irish Dragon Boat Association (www.dragonboat.ie) has promoted the sport by running regattas in Athy, Carlow, Kilcock, Dublin and Drogheda.  The first non-cancer dragon boat team, the Viking Paddlers, has just formed in Dublin and is a mix of gender, ages, backgrounds, fitness levels and technical abilities which is one of dragon boating's unique and innovative benefits.  There are not many sports where a team of 22 members can be involved in the activity, which creates a healthy support and encouragement network.
 
Dragon Boating lets paddlers meet and build relationships with fellow paddlers in Ireland and worldwide.  An ancient Chinese sport, it dates back over 2000 years and currently is a modern, worldwide sport:
– Second largest sport in the world
– 50 million people participate annually
– 76 nations are involved worldwide.
Dragon boat teams have opportunities to travel to international regattas annually and to build a far reaching community of support and friendship.
 
The teams at Europa Donna Ireland and the Irish Dragon Boat Association are very excited about rolling out our healthy lifestyle roadshow and encouraging lots more people of all ages and backgrounds across Ireland to get involved in being healthy in a fun and interactive way.
 
Thanks again to Coca Cola and of course all of our supporters who helped to get us through the round one of public voting.  We look forward to keeping you informed of our progress and hope to see you at one of our roadshow events in 2014. 

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