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Keep Abreast with IBCPC

Edition 9 / December 2019 

Welcome to our latest news update.

Don't forget, we are always keen to share stories from around the globe, so please, feel free to send your stories to
What’s in this edition?


From the desk of IBCPC President Meri Gibson


Greetings from the desk of the IBCPC President.
It has been quite the month since we last spoke. I have been on an outreach clinic to Egypt and Israel. And also setting some things in place to start a BC team in the Netherlands and catching up with our pink sisters in Frankfurt and Wiesbaden. 
Traveling with me for the Middle East portion of this outreach were Lucia de Ranieri, VP IBCPC and Dr Matilde Yahni, Israel National representative. I will report further on in this newsletter on this amazing trip.
Many of you who are connected with the IBCPC Facebook page will have seen the various little teasers that have been posted with places of interest and adventures to add to the “must do” list while you are in New Zealand, so here is the news you have all so patiently been waiting for…. Start planning that trip to New Zealand.

The festival website is now up and running and you can access this at and by visiting you can see what we have planned for you with our travel partners, adventures to do before, during, and after the festival.

IBCPC Participatory Festival 2022 March 28th – April 3rd, inclusive.
1. Registration and training starts from the 28th March.
2. Registration and training days continue on the 29th and 30th March
3. Meet and greet, mix and mingle party is on the 31st March.
4. The Congress is on the 1st April
5. The Pink Street Parade is on the 1st April
6. The Opening ceremony is on the 1st April
6. Race days are the 2nd and 3rd April
7. Closing ceremony and party is on the evening of the 3rd April
The first bulletin for the festival will be posted on the website in the coming weeks and will also be available on Facebook, this bulletin will also be sent to the team manager's names that we have on record and also to the team registrant names that we have from 2018.  The details of registration opening dates, costs, inclusions and accommodation partners will be contained in the 1st bulletin (subject to change).
Please DO NOT rush to try to book accommodation as the accommodation bookings are blocked until we open the registration on the 1st April 2020.
One special thing we do have planned… is that daylight savings happens in New Zealand at 2.00 am on the 3rd March 2022, the clocks will fall back an hour, lucky for you that you will get to have an extra hours sleep-in on the Sunday morning…

Lastly I would like to wish you and yours all the very best for the upcoming festive season and all that it brings to each and every one of you. For those in the northern hemisphere, stay warm and maybe enjoy some ice dragon boating and for those of you in the southern hemisphere, have fun out on the water and at the beaches around the country.

USA midwest update.

Below is a wonderful update from our Midwest Region National Rep, Cheryl Lychwick

 I have been VERY busy ALL year and am just now getting a little break since we cleaned up our boats and put them away for Winter storage in Iowa.  I'm taking a few days now to summarize a report from the Midwest Region of the U.S.A. and bring you up-to-date on activities.  
I 'm sorry it's been over 3 months to report and hope you will forgive me, but I've been fulfilling the IBCPC goal to help the growth and development of BCS teams in the United States Midwest Region.  We had a new team start up in the Midwest named KC Pink Warriors in Lansing, Kansas, USA.  To assist the team, our local Badger Lake Dragon Boat Association in Fort Dodge, Iowa, USA took a practice dragon boat (no head or tail) to them that allowed the new team to get in a dragon boat and work on their stroke and timing.   Tom Donner, our Fighting Angels Abreast BCS Coach and his wife, Linda, one of our Team Managers, took the boat on its 5 hour drive from Iowa to Kansas for the KC Pink Warriors and then Tom Donner showed some of the ladies how to Stern a boat.   The KC Pink Warriors were ecstatic!  I worked with their Team Captain, Michelle Steger, to have some of their individual paddlers join our Fighting Angels Abreast BCS team throughout the season to help fill a boat at Festivals to give them more festival and paddling experience.  
It was a challenging 2019 season arranging our team's participation in BCS Division Festivals as we were unable to fill a boat with only Survivors from our team.  In June, some individual Midwest BCS paddlers participated in the Big Blue Dragon Boat Festival in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, U.S.A. to help fill a BCS boat of Mississippi Sisters and Friends.   In July, there were the ADBA Regional Championships held in Kenosha (Pleasant Prairie), Wisconsin, U.S.A. and I so wanted more BC Survivors to experience the opportunity of attending an event of this caliber.  I began reaching out to Survivors from several teams in the Midwest who welcomed the idea and drove or flew to Wisconsin to participate.  The enthusiasm and determination in the boat and the unity among the BCS paddlers was so heart warming.  The Pink Paddling Power BCS Team from Racine, Wisconsin, U.S.A. won a berth to the Club Crew World Championship in Aix-Les-Bains, France in 2020.   When it came to our Fort Dodge Festival, the Badger Lake Dragon Boat Bash in August, we welcomed the new team of KC Pink Warriors as a first time festival team entry, who participated with us and our BCS sisters from Life Is Bliss of Ames, Iowa, U.S.A.  It was special for us all to be together in the BCS Flower Ceremony.  Then in September, it was off to the Dubuque Dragon Boat Festival in Dubuque, Iowa, U.S.A. to a new experience using the Taiwan style boat with flag catchers!  We again invited other Midwest BCS paddlers including the KC Pink Warriors to fill this different style of boat.  We met our friends from Making Waves of Rochester, Minnesota, U.S.A. and Breast of Friends of Dubuque, Iowa, U.S.A. for competition.   Old friendships were renewed and and new friends were gained during our 2019 paddling experiences.   The KC Pink Warriors gained alot of experience in their first year and conducted fundraising to be able to purchase their own boat to be delivered next year for the 2020 dragon boat season. They have joined and are a Member of the IBCPC.
We're also welcoming another new BCS Team that started organizing this past late Summer into Fall.  The new BCS Team is 'Paddles With A Purpose' from  Austin, Texas, U.S.A. under the leadership of Laura Szalay, who has been busy filing their 501(c)(3) and associated paperwork, working on membership, equipment needs, etc.   Laura was so appreciative of all who reached out to help her get the team started including The Austin Coolers who worked with them regarding practice and boat use and the IBCPC with Guidelines in Starting a Breast Cancer Dragon Boat Team.  They have joined and are a Member of the IBCPC.  They hope to be competing as a team in Regional Festivals in 2020.  
There is also interest in developing a BCS team in the Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. area.   I've forwarded articles and the IBCPC Guidelines for Starting a Breast Cancer Dragon Boat Team.  We're still working on this idea, so hopefully the 2020 season will bring heightened interest in starting a BCS team in the Chicago area.
Now aside from the racing season, you mentioned being interested in difficulties that the teams in our area have encountered.  One of the difficulties in the rural areas is filling a full boat with BC Survivors only.  The HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Acts) Law is heard more times than not when trying to contact our local hospital and clinics to tell them about our team and the support group on the water with added exercise benefits for most Survivors.  We respect the 'confidentiality' of the patient's medical information but we're to realize it is the patient's 'right' to be left alone.  The Survivors are more private about their diagnosis and it takes them many years to be able to open up and share with others, which is hard for some.  Thus, recruitment is slow and frustrating at times. 
On the positive side and to be of assistance, teams have flyers to leave behind or available in cancer treatment areas for reading and for the patient to take with them.   To spread the word in another manner, our team prepares Care Bags for breast cancer patients going through BC treatment at our local hospital.  The bag gives the patient something to do while undergoing treatment, includes our team brochure and gives them some encouragement to beat that nasty cancer dragon.   "Open Houses" also assist regarding BCS dragon boat racing and the benefits for the BC Survivor.
I hope you'll enjoy reading about some of the BCS activity in the Midwest Region of the U.S.A.  Thank you!
Cheryl Lychwick
IBCPC U.S. National (Midwest) Representative

KC Pink Warriors Awaken the Dragon in Kansas City

By Debby Rieck
KC Pink Warriors moved like a speed boat from a passionate vision in 2018 to a tangible reality in 2019 through our founder Michelle Steger. Shortly after treatment in 2017, she was introduced to dragon-boating by the Pink Dragon Ladies in Tampa, FL. By July 2018, she was in Italy competing in the IBCPC Participatory Dragon Boat Festival with Warriors On Water from Orlando, FL. Bitten by the dragon, she knew this was something she wanted to continue after moving back to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Encouraged by her sisterhood of paddlers, she pressed forward with the mission of creating the FIRST competitive dragon boat team in Kansas and Missouri.

The very first team practice was held on April 6, 2019, we sat on wooden crates and “paddled” with yardsticks, earning the nickname “curbside paddlers”. Each Saturday morning, we eagerly gathered at the gym learning about the A-frame position, terminology and working in sync. Every workout brought us closer to our goal and each other as we cheered and encouraged one another on.

In just 6 short months we accomplished amazing things as a brand-new team. After two months of dry-paddling, we competed as a team at the Kansas City International Dragon Boat Festival in June 2019. It was a learning experience to say the least! In mid-July, a small group of paddlers teamed up with Fighting Angels Abreast (Fort Dodge, IA) to compete at the Lake Andrea Dragon Boat Festival (WI). In early August, we earned a silver medal (BCS) at the Badger Lake Dragon Boat Bash (Fort Dodge, IA). We teamed up once again with the Fighting Angels Abreast and took home the GOLD medal (BCS) in the Taiwan-style races at the Dubuque Dragon Boat Festival in September.

Racing aside, we were finally able to ditch the yard sticks in July with the help of Tom & Linda Donner and Barb Michaels from the BLDBA (in Fort Dodge, IA). They graciously loaned us a boat to use indefinitely. “Big Orange” was the perfect practice boat, bravely standing up to any wake thrown its way. We will forever be grateful for our time in the big orange boat!
As we sadly said goodbye to “Big Orange”, we rejoiced at the purchase of our very own dragon boat. Thanks to the team’s fundraising efforts and generous donations from friends, family and supportive community members, we were able to purchase a dragon boat quickly. PanAm Dragon Boat will deck her out in our team colors and lights prior to bringing her home to Wyandotte County Park Lake in Kansas City, KS next Spring.

“How to Train Your Dragon Warriors,” that’s the job of our coach, Shelley Shackelford. She has lead us through various workouts, drills, and practices this summer, as we strive for endurance and unity in our stroke. Our first winter as a team will return us to training on dry land as we work on the best way to remain strong and prepared for 2020.
What’s next for the KC Pinks? Just watch and see because we’re here to stay.
The dragon has awakened in Kansas City!

Fighting Angels Abreast

Fort Dodge, Iowa, U.S.A.
The Fighting Angels Abreast BCS Dragon Boat Team from Fort Dodge, Iowa, U.S.A. became a Member of the IBCPC in 2013.  The team was established through the encouragement of Tom & Linda Donner and Barb Michaels of Fort Dodge, Iowa, U.S.A. in 2005.  When asked to compete in the 2005 Fort Dodge Festival, there was team hesitation as we weren't sure we knew enough about dragon boating and we were too new to have chosen a team name.  Our determined organizers marveled at our efforts for recovery and the festival was a way to celebrate life so the team felt that with Coach Tom and Team Managers Linda and Barb's guidance, we could do this too.  The BCS Team competed that first year in 2005 and our team name was "Too New For a Name"!  The following year, the team chose our current team name of "Fighting Angels Abreast".   

The ‘Fighting Angels Abreast’ team wanted to be a visible sign of promoting awareness of the positive outcomes of early detection of breast cancer.  Whether it's been 15 years, 10 years, 5 years, 1 year or months, it's survival!   We all have our number, but we're here as Survivors!  We're out to conquer that nasty cancer dragon!   We do, however, remember those who may have lost their battle to breast cancer in the BCS Flower Ceremony held at various BCS Division festivals.  As the boats float together as one toward shore, a song being played or a story or poem being read honors the memory of those no longer physically with us.  All other paddlers on shore and spectators attending the festival pause in silence during the BCS Ceremony and when the flowers are tossed into the water, sniffles can be heard in the boat and on shore.

The 'Angels', as we're sometimes nicknamed, also want those going through their treatments at our local hospital to know they are not alone in their fight against breast cancer.  Our team prepares Care Bags (photo attached) to give the patient something to occupy their time while undergoing treatment and generally (items vary with season and availability) includes a journal with team pen, a copy of the book "Reaching For Life" with stories of Breast Cancer Survivors and the Sport of Dragon Boat Racing; fuzzy socks  or slippers; toothbrush, toothpaste and dental floss; a manicure and/or pedicure kit; Chapstick; lotion; hand sanitizer; pink cap, or stocking cap and mittens (winter); pink warming blanket with the team logo embroidered in the corner; BC Gel Bracelet; Ta Ta bandanna; a team pin; a team brochure; and note cards, along with a separate personal note from the team.  The team also makes the half moon pillow for arm comfort after surgery or during treatment and puts one in each bag.  We even made a camouflage pillow for a Survivor who was in the military.  After their treatments and on the road to healing, some of the Survivors use the pillow to wrap around the back of their neck while traveling.  Even though the Care Bags are a good deed, the Team hopes the need for the bags decreases in the future which would be an indicator of less cases of breast cancer.

In addition to attending various 2019 festivals, the team took on another role this season.  There was a new team organizing in the Kansas City, Kansas and Missouri, U.S.A. area.  The 'Angels' wanted to assist the new team and familiarize them with the sport of dragon boating in the area, so they invited available paddlers to join the 'Fighting Angels Abreast' in their boat at the festivals we would be attending this season.  The new team, 'KC Pink Warriors', was excited about the idea and jumped at the opportunity.  The 'Angels' had voted to attend the ADBA Regional Championships in July in Kenosha, Wisconsin, U.S.A. to experience this higher caliber of racing activity and to have more BCS team presence at the ADBA Regional Championships.  Being short BCS paddlers, we reached out to BCS Paddlers from all over the Midwest Region who also jumped at the opportunity and drove or flew to Wisconsin to help fill the 'Angels'  boat and participate in a Regional Championship (although ineligible for a 'Team' berth).  It was overwhelming to have BCS paddlers from the U.S.A. states of Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Texas, Kansas, Missouri and Wisconsin help fill this boat. The enthusiasm, determination and unity in this boat of BCS paddlers was so heart warming and many new experiences and friendships were made.  

The 'Angels'  next event would be at home helping set up, and participating in, their local Badger Lake Dragon Boat Festival in Fort Dodge, Iowa, U.S.A. in August (team photo attached).    However, knowing the new team, 'KC Pink Warriors' did not have their own boat to practice, the Badger Lake Dragon Boat Association and the 'Angels' had an orange practice boat (no head or tail) that they wanted to take to the 'KC Pink Warriors' that allowed the new team to get in a dragon boat and work on their stroke, timing and steering.  Tom Donner, our 'Fighting Angels Abreast' BCS Coach and his wife, Linda, one of our Team Managers, took the boat on its 5 hour drive from Iowa to Kansas for the 'KC Pink Warriors' and then Tom Donner showed some of the ladies how to Stern/Steer a boat.  The 'KC Pink Warriors' were ecstatic!  They did work outs and practiced paddling to improve the skills and teamwork needed in the boat.  Being a new team starting up and a new team entry to the Badger Lake Dragon Boat Festival, the Festival organizers worked with their Team Captain, Michelle Steger, to add them as a team entry in the Badger Lake Dragon Boat Festival in Fort Dodge. This proved to be another wonderful dragon boat experience for them as their families and supporters joined them at the Fort Dodge festival.   After the Festival's Awards Ceremony, the 'Angels' hosted a meal for the BCS Teams, along with their families and supporters, to get to know each other more and enjoy our new friendships.  During the festival, there was a Silent Auction to benefit the local Trinity Cancer Center in Fort Dodge, Iowa, U.S.A.  Participating teams also donated a Silent Auction item with 100% of the proceeds to benefit cancer patients. 

In September, it was off to the Dubuque Dragon Boat Festival in Dubuque, Iowa, U.S.A. to participate in a festival with the Taiwan style (flag catcher) boat.  This festival always has a theme and this year it was "Hollywood Red Carpet" in which you could dress as your favorite movie character for the Friday night team dinner and decorate your tent accordingly for the festival.  This all was completely new to our new BCS Team.  The previous festivals used the Hong Kong style boats so the 'KC Pink Warriors' wanted to know more about this boat in the sport of dragon boating and they again helped fill the 'Fighting Angels Abreast' boat with BC Survivors.  Being joined at this festival by the 'Breast of Friends' BCS Team of Dubuque, Iowa U..S.A. and the 'Making Waves' BCS Team of Rochester, Minnesota, U.S.A., we renewed old friendships and introduced the new BCS paddlers to more amazing Survivors.   It was a full weekend of racing but one that again created many memories including the team dressing for the theme as "The Pink Ladies" from "Grease" and their coach, Tom Donner, portraying John Travolta at the Friday night team meal and doing a skit with a song from "Grease"!  

The 'Fighting Angels Abreast' dragon boat activities didn't end after participating at their last festival though.   They next assisted as the Badger Lake Dragon Boat Association had a large group of Boy Scouts come to Fort Dodge, Iowa, U.S.A. for their annual camp out and a Saturday was spent training the young paddlers in the morning with dragon boat racing in the afternoon.  The final race was the winning boat racing against all the Scout Troop leaders!   There was excitement on and off the water with lots of cheering and a great way to encourage younger paddlers in the community to learn about dragon boating and how to participate at a festival.

Now that the snow is on the ground and the cold north winds are blowing in Iowa, the boats have been cleaned up and put into storage.   The 'Fighting Angels Abreast' team is enjoying a break from the busy weekends at festivals and events.  However, with a Christmas drive-through of Holiday Festival lights at the local Kennedy Park Camping area in December, they have one more item to assist at for 2019....putting up a Christmas display entry for the community from the Badger Lake Dragon Boat Association, including the Fighting Angels Abreast BCS team.  Complete with lights creating a dragon boat outline on a panel background, penguins as paddlers, and inflatable dragons with red glowing eyes and wings as if flying in front of the boat, other inflatables and Christmas music plays to entertain all driving through the display (photo attached).  Thereafter, the team will be busy over the winter months looking to find more BC Survivors to join the team, paddle with the team at festivals, and experience where breast cancer can them after their diagnosis.  

The many wonderful BC Survivor experiences were sure not imagined before being told "you have cancer".  Who would have thought that a breast cancer diagnosis would have us taken us when we've been, including traveling internationally to unite with other BC Survivors to participate in IBCPC Festivals. 
As the 2019 season comes to a close, the ‘Fighting Angels Abreast’ wish all a future with less cancer and a great racing season in 2020!

 Chemo Savvy

And further afield we have an update from Chemo Savvy. This is still one of my most favourite team names. I saw his team in Caloundra in 2007 and their name and team uniform colours have stuck with me ever since.

Chemo Savvy have had a very active paddling season.  We entered four festivals, two away (Regina and Calgary) and two at home.  The memorable festival was the Dragon Boat Canada national competition in July, held on Wascana Lake at the back of the provincial legislative buildings.  Chemo Savvy entered the women’s over 50 and the breast cancer division, providing a total of 10 races (200 meters; 500 meters; and 2000 meters) over the three day festival.  We were allowed a roster of 30 and given the busy and complicated lives of women on the team, every team member that wanted to participate was able to attend. The experience of training for a national event and adding the challenge of a 2000 meter race, was a strengthening and growing experience for the members and coaches.  The team has explored opportunities to enter the national completion for a number of years and when it was announced that the venue would be in Regina, a 6 hour bus ride, it was a go for 2019.  The team experienced the high of the 3000 member athletes village, bought volumes of memorabilia and went home satisfied that another milestone had been achieved.  It was announced that Chemo Savvy was the first breast cancer team to enter the women’s over 50 competition.  Huge smiles and sense of satisfaction.

And then the surprise of our lives, Dragonboat Canada invited Chemo Savvy to participate in the International Dragon Boat Federation (IDBF) Club Crew World Championships (CCWC) event in Aix Les Bain’s, France in August 2020.   The team has accepted the invitation and is now going through the process to see if we can make it happen.  Much to think about, fit with team values, number of eligible members, costs, conflicts with other dragonboat costs (New Zealand, 2022). Stay tuned for the outcome of this challenging process.

Our commitment to core team values continues with activities such as our memorial event at the Carol Shields Labyrinth, wrapping Christmas gifts as a fund raiser for Canadian Cancer Society , heightening awareness through entering a float in the Santa Claus parade and walking in the Run for the Cure.

The team remains strong with annual recruitment of new members; refreshing our bylaws and our collective dry land training.
There is lots of buzz about the possibilities of New Zealand. The big question is when. Being from the prairies and the prairie winters many are hoping that the event gives us a winter holiday (January, February or March).  The dates will determine participation.  So  come on New Zealand,  let us know when we can come !!!

Editor’s note: I think you will be very happy with the festival dates. Looks like you will get that winter holiday after all.

 IBCPC Outreach

Below are some snippets of the recent Outreach clinics and medical expert meetings in Egypt and Israel and meetings in Germany and Netherlands to look at development and new team potentials. On this outreach were Meri Gibson, Lucia de Ranieri and Matilde Yahni.
The future team development looks really exciting in Germany as BC teams are beginning to realise that they are eligible to join IBCPC.  
  1. Currently IBCPC members: 
Pink Ladies Wiesbaden; Pink Patrol Bochum; Ladybugs, Lünen
  1. Teams not yet members of IBCPC but with potential to join: 
Pink Paddler Wolfsburg; Küsten Pinkies Wilhelmshaven, Pink Paddler Emden; Weser Pinkies Bremen; Phönika Kassel; Minden Pink Dragons; Pink Dragons KEL Datteln; Pink Paddler Limburg adL; Aschaffenburger Schlossdrachen; Pink Paddler Trier; Girlie Dragons Flörsheim; Pink Paddler Worms; Pink Fighters Saar Saarbrücken; Pink Pearls Heilbronn; Pink Paddler Tübingen, Pink Paddler Dresden
  1. IBCPC application handed in:
Pink Dragonistas Hanover
  1. There is strong interest in: Hamburg, Berlin, Halle, Ulm
  2. Interest also in Munich, Cologne, Essen, Konstanz (Bodensee).
With a very special visit to the Baheya Foundation and hospital, the most amazing facility which provides screening for people and then offers treatment facilities post a diagnosis.

Baheya Foundation for Early Detection and Treatment for Breast Cancer is a non-profit charity that treats women with breast cancer. The treatment is free and covers all stages, including early detection of the disease, surgery operations, chemotherapy, radiation, psychological therapy, clinical nutrition and therapeutic therapy.
Mrs. Baheya Wahby, Engineer Hussein Ahmad Othman’s wife, was diagnosed with cancer. She was an Egyptian noble lady. The family noticed how hard the poor families suffer from the cost of expensive treatment. Therefore, they decided to turn her house into a center for breast cancer treatment that is free of charge and does not discriminate between people. The Baheya building consists of 6 floors located on 10,000 square meters and equipped with the most recent medical equipment that cost about 150 million Egyptian pounds (approx. US$10m).
The organization has saved hundreds of women’s lives by providing a unique and integrated service in early breast cancer detection and treatment through a multi-disciplinary system. This system is primarily based on serving sick women aiming to control breast cancer through diagnosis, early detection, treatment, knowledge and scientific research.
The dream for the Baheya organization is to be the best specialized center in breast cancer treatment, not only in Egypt, but also in the Middle East and worldwide by the use of humans and the most recent technological power.
Baheya Organization has received more than 87000 women within three years of its opening. Those women were served with early cancer detection and X-rays. With continuous development of the team, Baheya achieved the following rates.
Some further statistics include:
Early External clinics: 6,500 patients per month.
Surgical operations: 160 operations per month (performed by experienced doctors in external hospitals)
Chemotherapy: More than 900 sessions per month.
Radiotherapy: 2900 sessions per month.
Early detection: 2000 women per month.
Along with having the most wonderful complete free access and guided tour of the laboratories, treatment and screening rooms, we were super excited to meet with the Doctor who heads up the Physiotherapy clinic and also to meet with the PR team at Baheya, and even more excited when they through our meeting have agreed to recommend dragon boat paddling as a part of both the pre-screening therapy and post diagnosis treatment therapy. This was much more than we could have hoped for, particularly where the women in particular do not exercise and the mortality rates are high due to lifestyle and diet.
The team at Baheya will work closely with Dragon Boat Egypt (Mary Li and Ehab Mostafa) to facilitate these first tentative sessions and will help to develop the sport further from there.

We were also very fortunate to visit Royal Club Mohamed Aly to view facilities for the Dragon Boat Egypt regatta to be held on the Nile on February 3rd 2020 
We spent three days in the north of Israel in the Kinneret region.
While there we visited the Porroya Hospital. Meet with doctors, staff and undertook lengthy conversations with the hospital staff, we also visited the oncology department where Matilde spoke with ten young trainee oncologists about the benefits of dragon boat paddling post operative.  It was very interesting to see the role that “Clown Doctors” play in oncology treatment and there is also a live band playing to patients once a week for 45 minutes.
We had three days of paddling on the Sea of Galilee and the River Jordan with the members of the Pink Lionesses extended group of approx 100 attendees where we discussed technique, training and how to set up dragon boat teams. 
We then traveled to Tel Aviv and were very fortunate to be able to undertake a wonderful presentation at the Daniel Rowing Club. This presentation had been facilitated by Dr Hila Ranani, gynecological oncologist specialising in the preservation of women’s eggs prior to treatment for Cancer. Huge thanks must go to Dr Ranani and her secretary for their work in organsiing this facility and the people present to listen to our presentation.
Fantastic meeting , great group of people present from medical to sports and the owner of the club.
Linda Streit, Daniels Mum (club founder) was at the presentation and she facilitated PR post the presentation on BC paddling not only at he club but in Israel. The club has 14 dragon boats (its like a dragon boat breeding ground in the secure yard where the dragon boats are kept).  This is an absolutely incredible facility.
The Daniel Rowing Centre is Israel’s leading rowing facility. Located on the banks of the Yarkon river in Tel Aviv. It is not only the home of the Israeli National team, but also a leader in rowing, kayaking and sailing classes for children and youth.
As Israel’s leading facility for rowing, kayaking, and Dragon Boat action, the Daniel Rowing Centre is the home of the national Olympic & Paralympic teams. A leader in nautical studies, it provides after-school sailing and rowing classes for kids, and thriving rowing and kayaking clubs for adults, open to all. In addition, the Daniel Rowing Centre also serves underprivileged communities, youth at risk, and people with disabilities and special needs, with numerous pioneering programs.

“The Daniel Rowing Centre” is a modern world-standard facility, and is one of the most beautifully designed buildings in Tel Aviv; it opened on October 11th 2002, established by the generous contribution from three generations of Daniel Amichai’s family, partnering with the Tel Aviv Foundation.
The centre was named after Daniel Amichai Marcus, who died in 1993 in a car accident on the Arava highway. Daniel started rowing at the age of 16, during his high school years at Carmel College in England. He quickly became an excellent rower, was elected as captain of his rowing team, and led it to great achievements. When Daniel returned to Israel and was enlisted into the Airforce, he used his limited free time to row on the Yarkon River, and his dream was to represent Israel in the Olympics.
Daniel’s heart keeps beating at the Daniel Rowing Centre, and his family see their vision come to life, as young sportsmen and women lead Israel to victories in the international arena, fulfilling Daniel’s dream.

It was an early start for us at 6.30 am for paddling and coaching the Pinkies at the Daniel Rowing Club. 
From the beautiful facility it is a quick few steps down the safe and easy access for the paddlers. We were quickly out of the dock area and onto the river proper. The beauty of this venue is that it is right in the middle of Tel Aviv. 
There were two teams of ten out that morning, one competitive, one not. 
Physiotherapists employed by the centre are the coaches and helm the boats. We have encouraged them to train up BC helms.
There is also an annual regatta on the Yarkon. It is held each year in May with up to 40 teams. Possibly corporate teams. This is a great opportunity to add a breast cancer division in this race. 
While in Tel Aviv we also had the opportunity to visit Tel Hashomer Hospital (Sheba Hospital), thanks to Dr Hila Ranani’s fantastic organisation.
Some quick facts about this hospital:
30,000 patients each day  
6000 staff
800 new diagnosis of BC each year 
Dedicated Breast care Oncology department. 
Meirav Breast Clinic(named after a young woman who passed away, paid by her family). 
Professor of Imaging showed us around the facility. 
Head of nursing will speak with patients and pass on a recommendation to join dragon boating. 
Our time in Tel Aviv still was not at an end as Lucia left us in the late morning of our third day to return to Florence.  Matilde and I spent the afternoon at the Tel Aviv Medical Center. We are given a wonderful tour by Dr Yahini ( Matilde’s new found cousin) who works in the Internal Medicine department. 
Dr Sonnenblick Head of Breast cancer Oncology was very supportive as was  
Dr Rotem Telem, Head of Palliative Care, as she already refers patients to dragon boating as post operative rehabilitation.  Manuel (Manu) Waller, head nurse of the day care oncology ward is also very keen to refer patients to dragon boating. 
Dr Bannier of the Survivors clinic is super excited to see dragon boating as part of the rehabilitation programme and was looking at ways to refer other survivors from other cancers. All in all a fabulous afternoons outreach work.
After leaving Israel, I was lucky enough to spend time with the ladies from Pink Ladies, Wiesbaden. I paddled with them in the indoor training tank. We had much discussion about technique and how the indoor facility is a great asset to have the use of in the freezing winter temperatures.


Bariloche, a wonderful experience (two medals and a cup).

This has been a wonderful year for Rosas del Plata. We participated at Neuquen and now have just returned from Bariloche, a beautiful city in the province of Rio Negro, Argentina, where we were invited to the Festival for the awakening of Nahuel Rosa’s two new baby Dragon Boats, called ‘Sarita’ and ‘Nahuela’.

There were four teams at the festival: three Argentinians, Rosas del Limay from Neuquen province, Nahuel Rosa the local team from Bariloche and Rosas del Plata from Buenos Aires, and one international team, Pink Warriors from Panama.
The festival ran for three days where we had several clinics to help improve dragon boat techniques. It also included races of 200 and 500 meters.

The 200 meters race was divided into 5 heats to allow each team to challenge the others (todos contra todos). And the 500 meters race was one heat only for time measurement (por medición de tiempos).
3 members of the Chinese community that are interested in spreading the dragon boat passion all around Argentina represented the Argentinian IDBF.

We were very excited when the results came out. We discovered that we had won the third place medal when we were invited to stand on the podium. Unbelievable. What a feeling!

We won the 3rd place medal for both the 200 and 500 meters race, and a Challenger Cup for second place overall. We were so happy.
Panama’s team and Nahuel Rosa team shared the Challenger cup for first place for finishing even/tied (empatados).

Last but not least, during the last day of the festival we had a beautiful rafting experience in towable tubes/rafts (gomones) on the Limay river. It is such a beautiful landscape where you can deeply breathe peace.

Now that we have stood on the podium for the first time, it will be hard to return to our daily routine. We are eagerly waiting for the next festival. Paddles up!

Jessica Trumper, vice captain of Rosas del Plata (Buenos Aires, Argentina)

Brazil Team Lisa Flor

From one of our newest teams a lovely update.
Lisa Flor, the dream come true.  By Daniele Dantas - Team Coordinator

The Lisa Flor team was born in my heart in early 2018, when I first heard the name of the IBCPC and Monica Hernandez's work with Chile's team of breast cancer survivors.  

Shortly thereafter, Cleusa Alonso, Brazil's Representative for the International Breast Cancer Paddlers' Commission contacted me with all information to form a team in Maceió.  I have read all material received from the IBCPC and very carefully read many articles by Dr Don McKenzie.  It was almost done, the team had a name, Lisa Flor, (a tribute to a friend who was also a breast cancer survivor), had the logo, flag, and I was ready to receive them.  Little by little girls arrived ... each with their own story, and each story thrilled me and motivated me to move on.  Lisa Flor was born to add, multiply and to help these women change their lives. 

 A lieutenant of the Alagoas Fire Department, Jaílson Tavares, embraced our team offering free time for the paddling girls.  Over the months the team grew, two other volunteers, Henrique Cavalcante and Bruno Simões also embraced us.  April 13, 2019, was a very special day, in a beautiful, happy and very emotional meeting, the team Lisa Flor with 9 members was officially introduced to Maceió.  

Today our team has 30 breast cancer survivors and our Dragon Boat has already been purchased.  I as a volunteer went to only two events last year carrying the team flag;  and to my delight this year, 13 survivors participated in the II Roama Festival, Brazil.  Lisa Flor is the first team from northeastern Brazil and we are honored to be the inspiration of the Mama Rosa, Remo Mama and Canohá teams carrying the message of exercise and life.  On October 13th, we held our first event, October Rose at Sea, a beautiful event to raise awareness and prevent early detection of breast cancer. 


 Argentina Festival

The first BC festival was held in Neuquen, Argentina. A wonderful 4 days of technique training, paddling, laughter and emotion took place. An update from Adriana Bartoli, National Rep Latin America.
Feeling Stronger Together! What a year for Latin America!

It was just one idea shared in October 2018: “I would like to get all the BC teams of South America together in Plottier, Neuquén, Argentina next October” Mabel Toso, of the Rosa Fenix team commented. Team work made it possible. In fact 190 paddlers) fully enjoyed four days of friendship, camaraderie, laughs and sport in Laguna China Muerta on the Limay River, Neuquén at the Latinoamérica en Rosa BCS Dragon Boat Festival 2019.
Teams from Aregntina: Amazonas de Córdoba, Chicas Pink, Dragones Rosas La Plata, PodeRosa, Rosas del Limay, Rosas del Plata Tigre, Rosa Fenix Patagonia and PodeRosa, together with team members from Canomama, Lisa Flor, Nina Rosa, Remama, Umauma and Canohá from Brazil,  Dragon Boat Bogotá from Colombia, Fortale Senos Chile and Forta Senos Araucanía from Chile and the international veterans team Linked in Pink Sisters (LIPS) with members from Australia, US and Canada were thrilled to share their time with Dr. Don McKenzie and Jane Frost on a Thursday evening conference and the three days of dragon boat clinic and races.
Only the ones that have been in Patagonia know what it means to be in a windy day. The Patagonian wind was implacable and strong on Friday but did not stop us. It gave us the time for land training paddling the 50 novices and delivering the general, steering, coaching and drummer clinics. Races started on a calm Saturday and ended on Sunday with the flower ceremony.
The participation of LIPS, first full team arriving to South America was a benchmark for the local teams.
Happiness, joy, acceptance, camaraderie were in the air. All our lovely paddlers felt that their personal limits were beyond their expectations. The seeds planted in 2013 have grown into plants, the time for the forest will arrive! We can say that another powerful endeavour has now begun!

Meanwhile Downunder

Dragons Abreast Port Lincoln (DAPL) An update from Sandy Jensen

To first introduce our remote and beautiful little city:
Port Lincoln is a city on the Lower Eyre Peninsula in the Australian state of South Australia. It is situated on the shore of Boston Bay, which opens eastward into Spencer Gulf. It is the largest city in the West Coast region, with a population of approx. 17,000, and its deep water port is the commercial pivot for the area, providing for its many agricultural and commercial requirements.
The Port Lincoln area has a contrasting coastal landscape, ranging from sheltered waters and beaches, to surf beaches and rugged oceanic coastline. The region supports lucrative fisheries, including that of the southern blue fin tuna and sardine. The economy is based on the huge grain-handling facilities and tuna farming for the Japanese market. Home of a large commercial fishing fleet, Port Lincoln also has a thriving aquaculture industry.
Port Lincoln is also a centre for tourism, due to its scenic beauty and coastal locality with three National Parks. Ready access to both Spencer Gulf and the Great Australian Bight mark Port Lincoln out as a blue water playground for yachting, scuba diving, shark cage diving and game fishing.
History of Dragons Abreast Port Lincoln:
Two local breast cancer survivors, Maxine Barker and Sandra Sinclair were invited to attend the Inaugural South Pacific Breast Cancer Regatta in Auckland, NZ in March 2003. On the long flight back, there was much talk about how the “dragon spirit” had grabbed them, and how they could form a team in Port Lincoln to help local survivors through their journey.
Dragons Abreast Port Lincoln was formed on 26 Jan 2004 with the help of Michelle Hanton, then coordinator of Dragons Abreast Australia, during Port Lincoln’s annual “Tunarama” Festival where dragon boat racing was introduced and included "Come 'n Try" sessions. The city was most impressed with the sight and colour of the first dragon boats in Port Lincoln. There were 3 boats and 100 members from Adelaide attending, including from our sister team, Dragons Abreast Adelaide.
The interest then of a mix of both Breast Cancer survivors and supporters is one of the strong characteristics of our group to this day.
Our very first meeting that day on the foreshore saw twenty interested women attend.  The fact we had no boat, no one knew how to sweep a boat, needed coaches, and had no equipment, all seemed minor details. Many of the twenty who came to the first meeting are still very dedicated members.
Over the next few months we set about training on the foreshore, paddling on the seawall with a couple of paddles, fundraising, applying for grants for our boat and equipment, whilst all the time membership numbers were increasing.
By November 27th, 2004 after much fundraising, laughter and tears and very strong support from our local community we had fund-raised the $10,000 needed for the new boat plus a generous personal donation of $4000. We could purchase and launch our own brand new fully equipped dragon boat.
We developed our own trademarked logo, which shows Port Lincoln marked on a map of SA, superimposed with a Leafy Sea Dragon, the maritime emblem of South Australia, and found in the coastal waters of lower Eyre Peninsula.
In October 2010 we built and opened our storage shed, again with much support from the community, particularly Port Lincoln Racing Club, Port Lincoln City Council, and many local businesses and trades persons.
By the time of our 10th Birthday, we were in possession of our second boat, to give us a new challenge, of getting more survivors out on the water.
Our training sessions involve dodging the many large fishing vessels in the waters of Lincoln Cove Marina. There is nothing more exhilarating than paddling with dolphins and seals which are curious of the splashing in the water and of the noiseless "pink dragon'' sliding through their habitat.
From just two original survivor members and two supporters we have grown to a membership of 52 consisting of survivor and supporter paddlers, survivor and supporter social members and including five supporter men, with members across lower Eyre Peninsula, and three life members.
Our members have taken part in regattas in State, Nationally and Internationally, participated in major and minor “Field of Women”, taken part in National Paddle days, National conferences and many, many fundraising events. We are eagerly planning a good representation, possibly even a South Australian team, in the next IBCPC festival in New Zealand 2022.
Over the past 15 years, our lively and diverse group with a wide range of ages, have made new friendships, given support to each other and enjoy being involved in local community events proudly wearing our eye-catching “Life after Breast Cancer awareness” pink uniform. All activities are done within the spirit of the dragon; doesn’t matter what we do, there are always the numbers to help, and we have the most fantastic fun times. That is a prerequisite to this amazing group of members. Together we have achieved the extraordinary, not forgetting that we have turned breast cancer survivors into people.
What are our Challenges?
- Attracting the newer and younger breast cancer survivors. Lives too busy, bigger variety of breast cancer support available through social media, not everyone wants to commit to a regular involvement, not every survivor wants to paddle.
- Our region has only a small population and we are a long distance from other groups. We maintain a good relationship with our nearest Dragons Abreast Australia sister group in Adelaide, but they are 650 km away.
- Aging bodies and declining enthusiasm for publicity events.
- The expense of having to travel to be with other groups.
- The majority of breast cancer treatment is not available locally and we must travel to Adelaide. While we have the support of a Breast care nurse, many medical practitioners are still not actively promoting the benefits of exercise.
- After 3 years a group separated from Dragons Abreast Port Lincoln to become a more sporting focused club, Blue Water Raiders.  In recent years the two groups have re-connected, trained together, and competed together at regional SA dragon boat events, and SA Regional Masters Games.
We are lucky because….
The local community are very supportive because we are the face of breast cancer survival, although we have to be very clear that we are about fitness rather than fundraising. We have built a reputation over our 15 years as good workers and supporters of other local organisations, while having fun and being out in the public eye.
- Local businesses provide sponsorship, which covers the costs of maintaining our boats, and providing training for coaches and sweeps.
- We provide funding for four people per year struggling while undergoing breast cancer treatment to have a weekend retreat in our beautiful coastal region, with full catering.



Dragons Abreast Canberra celebrates 20 years! Townsville paddlers join the celebration.

An article from Rebecca Jacobs.
I joined my team mates of 12 survivors, supporters and a volunteer to travel to Canberra for 4 nights.  My fellow travelers and I enjoyed a full city tour of Canberra which included Old and New Parliament House and the Australian War Memorial.  We, Australians  are so blessed to have such a beautiful city.  After our full day of playing visitors we joined  local and visiting Dragons Abreast members for fish and chips while enjoying beautiful water views from the Canberra Yacht Club.
We, Dragons Abreast Townsville girls, were teamed up with DA Newcastle and had Selma from DA Newcastle as our boat captain.  It was like meeting up with old friends again as we were fortunate in 2014 in the Sarasota IBCPC festival to have had Selma as our sweep in a combined DAA Spirit Team.  We all took part in the Corporate race draw on Saturday 9th November held on beautiful Lake Burley Griffin.  DA Canberra had special Pink categories for the Breast Cancer teams and  a percentage of supporters also joined  the teams.  Whilst the lake looked  visually  breath taking as seen on our team photo, the wind took control and the day’s events were finished earlier then planned.  Saturday evening Dragons Abreast members gathered at the beautiful Ladies Rose Garden near Old Parliament House and enjoyed an Aperol Spritz and nibbles and catching up with old, and making new friends.
Victoria and Tasmania IBCPC rep Linda Papworth and I had a locking of heads discussion and shared tips to promote growth in our clubs and how to retain members.
Sunday DA Canberra planned a  social paddle for the Breast Cancer teams to admire the beautiful city from the water.  Alas the weather took hold and  the windy and cold  conditions again made paddling a strenuous workout.
Thank you Dragons Abreast Canberra for an awesome time celebrating your 20th Anniversary. 

Developments in China.

Meanwhile Beirong (Bei) Xiong is meeting with potential new teams forming in Beijing and in Chengdu as we move towards the May 2020 Outreach clinic to China.

Bei sent through a quick update while waiting at the airport in Beijing to catch her flight to Chengdu. To date the work in China has been self funded by Bei and her husband and we at IBCPC are incredibly grateful for what they have achieved so far.
Bei had the opportunity to meet the developing Beijing sister team and she is pleased to report that they are engaged in winter training while waiting for summer and the hopes of a boat to arrive.  The next portion of Bei’s travel will take her to Chengdu to meet with prospective paddlers and also to Harbin, were it is hoped we can have an outreach clinic. She will also be meeting with the China Cancer Society to further develop the training programme that she has established with Dr Liu of the CRS.


 Abreast in a Boat (AIAB)

25th Anniversary
It is hard to believe that it is almost 25 years since those 24 nervous women stepped into a dragon boat for the first time, and the rest as they say is history.
We are sure that AIAB will be celebrating with many events in their milestone anniversary and that there will be many stories to come out of the celebrations so connect to their website and watch this space for updates over the coming months.

Around the World
Don’t forget to visit the IBCPC website events page.
If you have an event you think would be good to have listed, please send the details to
Go to the Hornet website and you will see the IBCPC paddle on sale is a black Friday special. There are a limited number of these paddles left as we look to delete this particular design. 

We are very fortunate the have an exclusive merchandise relationship with Hornet Water Sports.  They have some fantastic IBCPC merchandise for sale such as paddles, seat pads, gloves, paddle bags and so on.
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