PADUCAH, Ky. (9/17/13) – Mayor Gayle Kaler, a breast cancer survivor, is not shy about talking about her two battles with breast cancer. She fought the disease nine years ago and again seven years ago. To help spread the word about the importance of staying on top of your own health and disease prevention, staying strong through a health battle, and providing support to those facing their own struggles, Mayor Kaler has organized a City of Paducah team for the upcoming Dragon Boat Festival. Her team focuses on cancer awareness and support, specifically breast cancer awareness.
Mayor Kaler says, “I have been inspired by the Kentucky Thorough-Breasts, a dragon boat racing team based in Lexington which is composed of breast cancer survivors and supporters. Many of the local breast cancer survivors and families I know were willing to donate to help with the entry fee for the River Discovery Center’s Dragon Boat Festival but would rather someone else paddle. So I talked with Captain Barry Carter at the Paducah Fire Department, and he has helped coordinate a team with members from various City departments. Commissioners Carol Gault and Sandra Wilson also will be helping to paddle and run the tent.”
The City’s team is called “Team Paducah Hits a Home Run for Breast Cancer” with team members dressed as baseball and softball players. Mayor Kaler and her co-worker, Kelly De Rezza, a breast cancer survivor as well, raised the entire $2000 entry fee and donations above the entry fee will be donated to the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. One of the donors is Dr. Wally Montgomery who says during his career as a surgeon he saw approximately 5000 breast cancer cases, men and women.
This is the second year for the River Discovery Center’s Dragon Boat Festival. The event will be held Saturday, September 21 at the Paducah riverfront. Races will start at 9 a.m. The festival involves approximately three dozen local teams racing in heats by paddling 40-foot long boats. The festival is free for spectators. Proceeds from the team entry fees and sponsorships will go towards the educational programs at the River Discovery Center. Visit www.riverdiscoverycenter.org to learn more about the festival.
The Broadway entrance to the riverfront will be closed to vehicular traffic on Friday, September 20 beginning at 4 p.m. to allow teams to set up tents on the roadway above and below Wilson Stage. The Kentucky entrance to the riverfront will close at 1 a.m. on Saturday blocking accessibility to the public boat ramp. On September 21, Water Street will be closed from Broadway to Kentucky Avenue. The entrance to Maiden Alley will be closed at Kentucky Avenue forcing vehicles to travel down Kentucky Avenue to Water Street and turn right to follow the road behind the Carson Center. Broadway will be closed from the gazebo at 2nd Street to the riverfront due to the large number of people who will be walking to and from the parking lot throughout the day. Both entrances to the riverfront and the public boat ramp will re-open to the public at approximately 6 p.m. on Saturday following the awards ceremony.
Information provided by Pam Spencer
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