The team was established in 2003. Originally anyone with any type of cancer was involved but now we are 100% breast cancer survivors. We are a group of 24 women from all walks of life who are mothers, wives, aunts, sisters, daughters and even grandmothers.
Dr. Don McKenzie, a sports medicine physician in Canada, launched a dragon boat team called Abreast in a Boat in 1996 to test the myth that repetitive upper-body exercise in women treated for breast cancer encourages lymphoedema. He believed that by following a special exercise and training program, women could avoid lymphoedema and enjoy active, full lives. Dr. McKenzie's theory was proven correct. So from a medical study involving one boat of 25 women in 1996, breast cancer dragon boating now reaches around the world, with 117 teams in 12 countries … and growing…
We train twice a week in the summer and occasionally in the winter and compete with a degree of success both regionally and nationally. To improve our skills and get that elusive “gold” medal we would love to purchase our own boat so we can train throughout the year, but fundraising is necessary to achieve this. There are only so many different ways that you can fundraise so we decided to produce a “Calendar Girls” style calendar using dragon boat props.
We called our calendar “A Celebration of Women” and whilst a risqué calendar is nothing new, we believe that being breast cancer survivors added a whole new, bold dimension to a calendar of this style and showed that we are real women showing how indiscriminate this disease can be, despite various surgeries and cancer treatments.
For us dragon boating is a way of uniting women who have been through the disease of breast cancer and are showing that breast cancer is serious, but not necessarily the end of the world and women of all ages can lead a happy and active life after treatment. We also hope that women (and men) will be encouraged to join our team. The benefits include a sense of fun and support as well as improving both physical and mental wellbeing through a sport that has proven benefits for anyone affected by breast cancer.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month so we launched our calendar last week to coincide with this.
Sales so far have been great but we would like more so if you want to support us please buy one (or more) for only $10 each (+postage) from Greg Young Photography
If you are interested in joining our team, we always need new paddlers, then please contact us at [email protected] or come along to the “Give it a Go” day at Wellington Harbour on Sunday 30th October from 11am to 12pm.