By Tracy Pringle
Sometimes, Dragons don’t breathe fire. Sometimes, Dragons are heroes – selfless, generous and kind.
This marks the 10th year of the International Dragon Boat races in our region. It’s also the Year of the Dragon. If you’ve never seen the Dragon Boat races – it’s an incredible sight. Twenty-two people, ordinary people, in a boat including a drummer and a coxswain (to make sure everyone is rowing in sync), all pulling together to row massive boats in Lake St. Clair in a race to the finish.
If you don’t know why anyone would want to train for weeks or months, compete when they don’t win anything for themselves, then maybe hearing that the Dragon Boats are a fundraiser for Breast Cancer will help explain. There were two race dates this year. Cancer survivors and student teams raced on July 14th and corporate teams hit the water on July 15th.
I had to tell you that, in order to tell you this.
During the month of July, the production team for “CBC – The Big Decision” is filming in our region. They are profiling two local companies who are vying for investment to grow, innovate and re-invent themselves. The investment decision will be made by Jim Treliving, also an investor on “The Dragons’ Den.”
While filming at the Dairy Freez recently I was fortunate enough to meet a local man, Brian Bacon. Brian has been doing battle not with Dragons, but with illness for his whole life. He feels fortunate because many people have extended their hands, hearts and help to him over the years and he wanted to find a way to give back. So a few years ago, he did just that by raising money to support different causes: Big Bike for Heart and Stroke; Kidney Foundation and now, Dragon Boats with his team, “Bobbin for Boobies.” Why? His mom is a breast cancer survivor, and he has struggled with kidney disease followed by a fight with brain cancer. He’s a fighter in every sense of the word.
You’d think that someone who has faced adversity and struggle like Brian would be fearless. But when he was faced with a real live Dragon at the Freez , he felt himself waver a little bit. After all, Jim Treliving is larger than life – a self-made man and television personality with a billion dollar empire – and Brian wasn’t sure how he’d react to his request.
In between takes, Brian approached the Dragon and asked him for a donation to support the Dragon Boats in this, the year of the Dragon. Without hesitation, Jim reached into his heart and donated money from his own pocket, proudly signing his name on Brian’s pledge sheet. A Dragon supporting the Dragon Boats.
With people like Brian, and all of those in our community who participate, donate, support, watch, and cheer for the racers – our very own Dragon slayers – a cure must be in our future.
Check out www.dragonboatsonline.com to read about the event. Check out www.cbc.ca/thebigdecision to learn more about the show and stay tuned for details about how we can support our local contestants and for viewing party details at air time!
Tracy Pringle is the Director, Business Rentention & Expansion for the Windsor-Essex Economic Development Corporation.