Why We Paddle

Since its inception in 2006, Dragon Boat Upstate Festival has been a catalyst for individuals in the Upstate to work together and change the face of cancer here in our community. Over the years, more than $4,000,000 have been raised by caring community members, helping propel the Prisma Health Cancer Institute forward in the areas of advanced cancer research and patient survivor programs in the Upstate.

Funds raised through Dragon Boat provide much-needed support for local prevention and early detection, advanced cancer research and patient programs, as well as life-changing patient and survivor programs.

The W. Larry Gluck, MD Endowed Chair of Translational and Molecular Oncology Research

In 2023, a portion of Dragon Boat funds will support the W. Larry Gluck, MD Endowed Chair of Translational and Molecular Oncology Research. This newly created chair honors Dr. Gluck's legacy and impact as he enters his last year before retirement but also enables the Prisma Health Cancer Institute to sustain and strengthen a culture of excellence in patient care, cutting-edge research, clinical trials, and scholarships. Despite the essential role of research in the clinical setting, the number of physician-scientists in the workforce is dwindling. Thirty years ago, 4.5 percent of physicians participated in research. Today, that rate is just 1.5 percent. Establising an endowed chair ensures our community is equipped with top-notch physicians and prioritizes research in the clinical setting. The W. Larry Gluck, MD Endowed Chair of Translational and Molecular Oncology Research, will be the only endowed chair celebrating the role of physician-scientist and solely focused on translational and molecular research in South Carolina. To learn more, read the Case of Support below.


Prevention & Early Detection:

  • Mobile Mammography Initiative - Our Prisma Health Mobile Mammography Initiative provides proactive healthcare to various populations and decrease barriers to access to preventive care as a part of a larger population health management strategy, improving the health of the communities we serve. The Prisma Health unit is the first 3D mammography mobile unit in the Upstate and screens 3,000 to 4,000 patients annually. As part of the Prisma Health Business Health program, over 20+ corporations and their employees would benefit from increased access and mammography scheduling.
  • Center for Cancer Prevention and Wellness (CCPW) - CCPW also known as Prevent Cancer Greenville, is a prevention and research initiative led by the Prisma Health Cancer Institue. This study is 100 percent funded by philanthropy and Dragon Boat funds raised.

    When it comes to cancer, early detection can make all the difference. This program is the first of its kind in the Upstate and offers a range of services to help participants learn how to reduce cancer risk or detect cancer early when it's most treatable. The program aims to reduce the risk of cancer by offering free wellness screenings and suggested lifestyle modifications.

    To learn more about CCPW and to sign up to participate in Prevent Cancer Greenville, visit https://prismahealth.org/services/cancer-care/prevention-and-screening/center-for-cancer-prevention-and-wellness

  • WYFF: Greenville prevention clinic lowers risk of cancer by more than half. Read the article here
  • Greenville Journal: Detecting cancer: A new Prisma Health Cancer Institute initiative aims to identify, prevent cancer at its earliest molecular development. Read the article here


Advanced cancer research and patient programs:

  • Institute for Translational Oncology Research (ITOR) - Funds to this area support clinical research and trials at all levels. Tissue has been banked for hundreds of patients across the country through the Prisma Health tissue bank. Among the items funded by Dragon Boat is the MoFlo™, a machine that allows researchers to sort cancer cells in a way that keeps them viable for additional research instead of having to get more tissue from the patient. This also helps in individual drug therapy research, allowing doctors to evaluate several medication protocols on live tumors and better predict which drug therapy will have the most significant impact on the individual cancer being treated.
  • McCrary Blood & Marrow Transplant Unit (BMT) - Funds to this area continue to help with patient and family housing during transplant and screenings not covered by insurance. Dragon Boat funds help support this unit and have helped create a wellness suite in the unit, with larger rooms, and televisions in each room, creating a more comfortable environment for both the patient and their loved ones during the extended stay needed for a transplant.

Patient & Survivor Programs:

  • Center for Integrative Oncology & Survivorship (CIOS) - CIOS supports a comprehensive oncology rehabilitation program focused on helping a person with cancer regain maximum physical, social, psychological, and vocational functioning with the limits imposed by the disease and its treatment. Music therapy and oncology rehab have been made possible because of Dragon Boat funds. In addition, hundreds of patients have had body composition scans as part of the “Moving On” Program for pre and post-analysis within the 12-week program. CIOS has also rolled out a nutrition program for hundreds of patients and offers monthly survivalship programs, such as Walking Club, Art, Music, Sexual Health and Yoga. These programs, aimed at improving the lives of cancer patients, are made possible because of funds raised through Dragon Boat.
  • South Carolina Ovarian Cancer Foundation - Dragon Boat continues to support patient and survivor services at the local and state level through the work of our organizing partner South Carolina Ovarian Cancer Foundation, whose mission is to improve the health of women through education on the warning signs of ovarian cancer, support those diagnosed with the disease and promote ovarian cancer research.