Dating back over 2,000 years, dragon boats originated in southern central China and were part of important rituals. The rowing sensation has since become an international sport, and the Charleston Dragon Boat Festival mixes both. The Dragon Boat Festival is held by Dragon Boat Charleston (DBC), a community of paddlers who made history by being the world’s first ever competitive crew comprised completely of cancer survivors. Meagan Labriola, a festival organizer, says “Instead of suffering in isolation behind closed doors, our members have chosen to get into a boat with other cancer survivors and heal together on the water, while regaining their strength.” Cancer survivors can join DBC for free, and all members help raise money for cancer research. Besides the philanthropy aspect, racing dragon boats provides members of the community with group aerobic exercise and fun. “One minute you’re having a ball with all your friends, the next minute you are reflecting on those who have struggled with cancer, the next minute you are determined and focused on winning the race, and then ... you’re back having a blast with all of your friends again,” says Labriola.