IBCPC 2014 Participatory Festival,
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- Welcome to the International Breast Cancer Paddlers' Commission
The IBCPC is an international organisation whose
mandate is to encourage the establishment of breast cancer
dragon boat teams, within the framework of participation and inclusiveness.
We support the development of recreational
dragon boat paddling as a contribution to a healthy life style for
those diagnosed with breast cancer.
As the breast cancer dragon boat movement grows internationally, we have a unique opportunity to raise awareness about the disease and about life after breast cancer. We know
a full and and active life is possible. The IBCPC was created to spread this message.
Together we are stronger, our voices are louder and the message is clearer.
Being part of the IBCPC provides breast cancer survivors with the opportunity to network with international teams.
This enables the teams to share information, receive regular newsletters and updates, and also to share best practices with other teams and to interact with fellow paddlers around the world.
The next IBCPC International Festival is in Sarasota, Florida.
Background to Breast Cancer Survivor Dragon Boat Paddling
Breast cancer survivor dragon boat paddling began at the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver, Canada in 1996. Dr. Don McKenzie, a Professor in the Department of Sports
Medicine and exercise physiologist challenged the prevailing medical thinking that women treated for breast cancer should avoid rigorous upper body exercise for fear of developing lymphoedema, a debilitating and chronic side effect of treatment.
He developed a programme to determine the impact of exercise on breast cancer survivors, choosing dragon boat paddling as the epitome of strenuous, repetitive upper body exercise. He trained twenty four breast cancer volunteers in a
gym for three months, introduced them to dragon boats and taught them paddling techniques. At the end of the three month season on the water none of the volunteers had lymphoedema.
While Dr. McKenzie’s medical experiment/project was complete, the women found they were fitter, healthier and happier. They
loved the camaraderie and support of their fellow paddlers and had regained control of their lives. They realised that dragon boat paddling could become a means to raise awareness of breast cancer and of the ability of survivors to lead normal lives. They named their team ‘Abreast In A Boat’ and invited other survivors to share their exciting experience.
Over the years the movement progressed to other areas in Canada and was introduced to other countries by breast cancer survivors who saw the benefit for survivors. These inspirational individuals started communicating across the miles, providing
much support and encouragement to see other survivors reap the benefit of dragon boating and the health and fitness benefits it provided. Special mention should be made also to the amazing awareness made to the public on breast cancer.
Since 1996, as more and more interest came about we saw representatives from different countries joining together to paddle together in different places including Canada, Australia, Italy, Penang, New Zealand, Singapore, Poland and the United States. In 2005 a celebration of the start of Abreast In A Boat occurred in Vancouver, Canada – an international event with over 2000 breast cancer survivors from around the world. Following this festival Australia hosted ‘Abreast in Australia’ in 2007, and more recently Peterborough, Canada in 2010 (both of which had over 2000 participants). Each festival provided breast cancer survivors with the opportunity to network, attend workshops, paddle and celebrate life! The next international festival will be will be held in Sarasota in 2014.
During this time it became apparent that we need to ensure international festivals continue to promote participation and inclusiveness – this is where the IBCPC comes in.
Click here to read a message from our President, Jane Frost.
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