Prisma Health held its annual Dragon Boat Upstate Festival virtually this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The online race brought in $240,000 for advanced cancer research, prevention and survivor programs for the Prisma Health Center Institute, the health system announced Wednesday, Nov. 25.
“Regardless of this terrible pandemic, every day our patients and caregivers continue to fight cancer,” said Dr. Larry Gluck, medical director at the Cancer Institute. “It is this type of innovation and commitment to genuinely world-class care here in our backyard that is making a difference in patients. The generous and continued philanthropic support from our community helps make all this possible.”
The top fundraising team, Ragin’ Cajuns, raised $18,935. The top individual fundraiser was Nicole Bowen of Team Torque, who raised over $5,000.
The Dragon Boat Upstate Festival has raised more than $3 million since it began in 2006. Programs that have benefited from the funding include the Center for Cancer Prevention and Wellness Institute for Translational Oncology Research, McCrary Blood & Marrow Transplant Unit, South Carolina Ovarian Cancer Foundation and Center for Integrative Oncology & Survivorship (CIOS), according to the release.
Each year 26 community teams come together for the festival with a goal to raise at least $3,500. In years past, the teams have celebrated by racing dragon boats at Portman Shoals Marina. The pandemic forced Prisma to move the fundraiser online.
“The resiliency and dedication these teams demonstrated is heartwarming and inspiring,” said Risé Wilson, executive director for Prisma Health’s philanthropy office in the Upstate. “It would have been easy to let things fall by the wayside, but these community teams stepped up after facing multiple challenges, all in the pursuit to fight cancer. We look forward to having everyone out on the water again in 2021 and reaching our $500,000 goal to celebrate 15 years of the Festival.”