The Nanaimo Dragonboat Festival Society and Save-On-Foods present a $25,000 cheque to the Nanaimo and District Hospital Foundation, as well as $15,000 to the Nanaimo Hospice Society. Pictured, left to right, are Dave Madiuk of Save-On-Foods; Heiko Behn, chairperson of the Nanaimo Dragon Boat Festival Society; Janice Krall from the hospital foundation; Jan Hastings, vice-chairperson of the dragonboat society; and Bronte Pike from the hospice society. (Photo submitted)

The Nanaimo Dragonboat Festival Society and Save-On-Foods present a $25,000 cheque to the Nanaimo and District Hospital Foundation, as well as $15,000 to the Nanaimo Hospice Society. Pictured, left to right, are Dave Madiuk of Save-On-Foods; Heiko Behn, chairperson of the Nanaimo Dragon Boat Festival Society; Janice Krall from the hospital foundation; Jan Hastings, vice-chairperson of the dragonboat society; and Bronte Pike from the hospice society. (Photo submitted)

Former dragonboat festival organizers donate to Nanaimo hospital foundation and hospice

Nanaimo Dragonboat Festival Society offers well-wishes to new organizers and all paddlers

The Nanaimo Dragonboat Festival Society has turned over the event to new organizers, and made a remarkable farewell gesture.

The society, with support of longtime title sponsor Save-On-Foods, presented donations of $25,000 to the Nanaimo and District Hospital Foundation and $15,000 to the Nanaimo Hospice Society this week.

The society, in a press release, noted that the final donations will “carry on a legacy of support and care for people with cancer.”

“It was not easy to let the festival and races go. After a two-year pause, and persistent COVID risk, there was too much uncertainty about teams and our ability to keep volunteers and the public safe,” said Heiko Behn, who was the event’s longtime chairperson. “In the end, it was a business decision because our constitution requires the society to raise and donate funds. We regret that we have become another COVID casualty.”

The society noted in the release that Save-On-Foods should be congratulated for its years of dedication to the event, including providing meals and snacks to volunteers and participants, especially at the survivors’ dinners and paddlers’ parties.

“Those big tent events will be remembered with happy hearts,” the release noted.

The event has been taken over by Fairway Gorge Paddling Club, and the Nanaimo Dragonboat Festival Society said in the press release that “we wish them and the paddlers all the best.”

READ ALSO: Nanaimo Dragonboat Festival planning its return this summer



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