On the 27 January, an overcast and damp day in Adelaide, something very special happened at Aquatic Reserve, West Lakes. SA Dragons Abreast celebrated the life and achievements of a quiet, graceful lady called Carlene Butavicius, who sadly passed away on 13 January 2002.
After the last race of the day, all of the teams gathered at the waters edge, many of whom had raced with arm bands to recognise our loss, to watch the SA Dragons Abreast teams take two boats onto the water. We had with us in the boats, Carlene’s husband Al and her mother Betty, as well as other friends. Carlene’s son Marcus and his partner Kathy waited on shore.
As we paddled out to the middle of the course, Jenny Donovan told the gathered crowd of Carlene’s achievements and read a poem. As we turned to face the shore, we observed a minute’s silence and scattered rose petals over the water, as those gathered on the shore scattered their petals into the water at the same time.
The two boats then slowly made their way into shore, and as we beached, the other teams created a guard of honour with their paddles for us to pass through. We were humbled by the level of emotion engendered by the ceremony, many of the teams were in tears as we passed through.
This powerful tribute not only payed homage to a wonderful person, but highlighted the reason for us being out in the pink; to raise the awareness of breast cancer and its impact on peoples lives.
Following the ceremony, we had a piece of a wonderful cake created by Denise Bassanelli, a pink cake shaped like a pink lady silhouette.
We will remember Carlene often, and strive to carry on the cause that she was so dedicated to.
“Dragons Abreast Australia continues to grow and, on behalf of you all, I send congratulations to the girls in Pt Lincoln for their success at the Tunarama Festival. Being a born and bred ‘crow-eater’ I would have loved to have been there to support Dragons Abreast Australia (SA). The founder of the original group, Carlene Butacivius was a great woman –I miss her dearly. I’m sure she would have been proud of the efforts of this new group.”
Anna Wellings Booth, Southern Editor
Update from the Executive ……….
Our thanks must go to Dragon Boat Association of South Australia for transporting 3 boats from Adelaide including ‘Carlene’s Dream’. It was very special to have her boat in Port Lincoln as several of the paddlers knew Carlene personally. Carlene was a very dear friend to Maxine who had worked with her over a numbers of years on BCNA and Action on Breast Cancer business.