The annual Calgary Dragon Boat Race has been unfolding this weekend at the Glenmore Reservoir.

The event draws about 2,000 paddlers but this year, one group has already been through some tough waters of their own.

Four boatfuls of breast cancer survivors took to the water to compete as well as share a sense of community and celebrate life.

"I'm a survivor of breast cancer and this was the gift that I was given as a result of that," said Deidre Palik, who rows with the Dragon Sisters crew.

"I have 50 great new friends, we work hard, we've taken back control of our lives and being out there on the reservoir around our friends and family with other breast cancer teams, it couldn't be a better day," she continued.

The women held a solemn rose ceremony after their race to symbolize those no longer with them.

The races continue Sunday until 3 p.m.