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Dragon-R-Butts aims to kick butt at Dragon Boat Festival

PERU - Lois Roberts always wants to help children. And, when she saw a special on Mountain Lake PBS last year about the Lake Champlain Dragon Boat Festival in Burlington, Vt., she was unknowingly looking into her future and a way to do just that.

"I had thought then what a cool thing to participate in," she said.

When it was announced this year's festival would benefit Camp-Ta-Kum-Ta - a camp in South Hero, Vt., that helps children battling cancer - Roberts said, "the stars aligned."

"How could I not try to form a team and participate," she said.

Roberts has been a supporter of Camp-Ta-Kum-Ta since watching a video on YouTube of a girl named Grace, who attended the camp, and then gave a testimonial about what camp has meant to her. When the Peru Lions Club - of which Roberts is a member - hosted a presentation in April from Camp Ta-Kum-Ta Executive Director Ted Kessler, she learned Grace had since lost her battle with cancer.

That only motivated Roberts even more to help children fighting the life-threatening illness.

Getting together a team for the Dragon Boat Festival hasn't been an easy task, but Roberts has managed to find 22 people willing to take on the strenuous task of paddling and collecting pledges for their participation.

"Twenty-two people who, some I know, some I don't, but are willing to be a part of such a wonderful fundraising experience," said Roberts.

Roberts' team - Dragon-R-Butts - will be among more than 70 others that will compete in grueling 300-meter sprint races. Each team member was required to pay a registration fee in addition to giving of their time for the event, said Roberts.

"Some more than a day, as we have a practice session, and we have been trying to do extra fundraising," she said.

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