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 lifestyle 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 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.
We believe anyone can embrace who they are,
can define their future, and can change the world.
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 lifestyle for those diagnosed with breast cancer.
Breast cancer 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 lymphedema, a debilitating and chronic side effect of treatment. Read more...
IBCPC Board Members
Meri Gibson of Christchurch, New Zealand is a member of Abreast of Life dragon boat team. Meri has been a major force in the progress of dragon boat paddling in her country since joining her team in 2006.
Meri had been diagnosed and treated for cervical and ovarian cancer in the 1990’s and was diagnosed with breast cancer in December 1999. She underwent a mastectomy and reconstruction in February 2000. She had a second mastectomy and reconstruction in August 2011. Her daily mantra is to live each day to the maximum, whilst being incredibly grateful for every single moment.
Lucia De Ranieri
Lucia De Ranieri discovered the Florence Dragon Lady team following her diagnosis in 2011and became an active member of the team, mostly in organisation and public relations. She fell in love with the sport the first time she paddled.
Dragon boating allows team members to live in a new way she discovered. She now enjoys drumming and tries to encourage and stimulate her teammates.
Janice started paddling with Abreast of Life (ABOL) in 2000, the year after the team started. Her paddling experiences have included, Abreast In A Boat Ten Years Celebration, Vancouver 2005, and joining with CanSurvive from Wellington to participate in Abreast in Australia, Queensland 2007. The last paddling trip was to the World Club Crew Championship in Adelaide in April 2016 where her team performed exceptionally well. Janice has met so many wonderful people through this sport and enjoys catching up with old friends at national and world regattas.
Linda is a Rowbust Breast Cancer Survivor Dragonboat team member. The team was formed in early 2000, Linda is an original member of Rowbust, having completed 21 seasons with the team. She has been on the Rowbust Board of directors including, presidency for five years from 2005 to 2010, is the current Rowbust team captain and has been In that position from 2011 to the present time. Linda is also involved with Dragonboat Canada where she is the Chair of the breast cancer survivor development committee and has been in that position from 2012 to the present time. Linda is also involved with Dragonboat Canada where she is the Chair of the breast cancer survivor development committee and has been in that position from 2012 to the present time. She is also the Canadian breast cancer dragon boat representative providing leadership and direction to the executive director of Dragonboat Canada on the development, implementation and standards for Dragonboat Canada’s breast cancer survivor racing programs. Linda is the go to person for breast cancer survivor dragon boating in Canada.
Linda will tell you what she is most proud of, is that she has been married for 36 years, raised two wonderful sons and whilst being diagnosed with breast cancer in 1999 she has been healthy ever since.
Annette has been a member of Pink Phoenix (Portland Oregon) since 2017, having found the team just one year after her breast cancer diagnosis.
For her, finding dragon boating and her team was a key factor in beginning her life after cancer journey. Her teammates provided support, countless examples of strength and helped her to find the athlete within her (again). The strong sense of sisterhood made it easy to fall in love with the sport of dragon boating.
She has held positions on her teams’ Board of Directors in various capacities including merchandising, public relations and sponsorships. In 2020 she was appointed National Rep for the USA Pacific / Western region and has most recently been working with the Midwestern region teams as well. In 2022 she and her USA National Rep colleagues began work to help the United States Dragon Boat Federation (USDBF) in their efforts to create awareness and highlight BCP (Breast Cancer Paddlers) as an important category for events held in the USA.
Prior to retiring Annette spent the bulk of her professional career working in merchandising and marketing for brands including Nike and Champion Apparel. She has devoted her time and energy to many nonprofits throughout the years including programs supporting the arts, music and animal rescues.
Annette affectionately refers to time on the water as her happy place and like so many of us finds joy in the fact that something like breast cancer led her to the wonderful world of paddling.
Louise Granahan, from Toronto, Canada, has been paddling since 2017. She was diagnosed with breast cancer 2 months after surgery for an ovarian tumour. She underwent a double mastectomy and Diep flap surgery. This led her to found the Canada Diep Flap Support Group, which has over 1300 members. Louise retired in 2020 after 31 years teaching elementary school. She is currently an actor in film and television.
Jane Frost is one of the twenty-four women living with breast cancer who, in 1996, slipped into a dragon boat, becoming the team Abreast In A Boat (AIAB) and giving birth to a Canadian legend and an international movement. Jane was instrumental in establishing the International Breast Cancer Paddlers’ Commission in 2010. She was elected its first President in 2010 and served until 2018.
Special Update: It is with great sadness to report that Jane, our Founding President, died in hospital in Vancouver, Canada on June 12, 2022. Jane was a visionary and activist for the past twenty seven years as an original member of Abreast In A Boat, the worlds first breast cancer dragon boat team. She led the way with love, courage and perseverance to grow breast cancer paddling worldwide. Jane was an inspiration for so many with the important work she did in enhancing the quality of life of those diagnosed with breast cancer, through the camaraderie, exercise and mutual support we all experience paddling together in a dragon boat. Jane will be missed across the world.
Jo was introduced to Dragons Abreast Australia (DAA) by some friends she had met following her diagnosis, and she has been a member since 2003. Jo was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1999 at the age of thirty-seven. Following her diagnosis, she chose a mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation and later reconstruction.
After eight years involved with DAA, Jo says, “I still love what DAA represents. It is important to me that we continue to provide a means for women to transition into full and active lives following their breast cancer diagnosis. I have been witness to some amazing changes in the women I have met both physically and emotionally.”
Betty Solley is a member of Against the Wind (ATW), the breast cancer survivor’s crew of the Philadelphia Flying Phoenix Dragon Boat Team (PFP).
Betty was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2003, two months after losing her husband to leukemia. She first went out on the boat shortly after completing chemotherapy, and has never looked back. She knows first- hand how dragon boat racing can enhance a survivor’s life in numerous ways and has worked steadily with her team to build an organization that has crews for breast cancer survivors, and several women’s teams spanning multiple decades and levels of competition. Betty is the Assistant Coach of Against the Wind.
After a breast cancer diagnosis in 2006, Ali was having her course of chemotherapy when she noticed a poster on the wall at the hospital advertising dragon boating. She promised herself when treatment was finished she would check out this amazing looking group of women in pink and learn more about paddling. Ali did just that and after her first come-and-try session, with Dragons Abreast Melbourne (DAM Busters) she was hooked. “From the minute I walked through the door it was like coming home to family, the warmth, compassion and caring nature of these women just overwhelmed me”.
Medical Advisory Panel
Dr Tracy Sexton
Dr. Tracy Sexton is a Radiation Oncologist at the London Regional Cancer Program, London, Ontario, Canada and has specialized in the treatment of breast, prostate and paediatric cancers since 2007. She is actively involved in clinical trial research and education and was the Program Director of the Radiation Oncology Residency Program for 10 years. Her passion is survivorship and as the South-West Ontario lead for the Breast Cancer Survivorship Program, she helped create educational materials on follow up and long-term side effects for family physicians and patients, that are now used throughout the province.
As a 15-year breast cancer survivor, Dr. Sexton has committed her professional and personal life to raising awareness of breast cancer and improving the lives of breast cancer patients after treatment. She is an avid dragon boater and has been a member of Rowbust, London Breast Cancer Survivor Dragonboat team, since 2010. As a Rowbust member she is the medical director, on the safety committee and just completed her second term on the board of directors. She is a proud member of the Rowbust national crew, having won the title of national breast cancer division champion 9 times and Club Crew World Champions BCS division 3 times. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends and traveling the world.
Dr Matilde Yahni
Matilde was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina 56 years ago. She has a solid career as a medical doctor. Matilde comes from a family of doctors, with her father and two brothers all medical doctors. Matilde specialized in Family medicine having completed a residency both in Buenos Aires and at McGill University, Montreal, Canada. She also undertook postgraduate studies in diabetes and nutrition. Matilde has a passion for languages and she can communicate easily in Spanish, her native language, English, French, Italian and German. Matilde is the proud mother of Lucas and Paul who share with her, her passion for art, music and sports.
Matilde was diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer in 2015 and six months later a different type of breast cancer, was found in the other breast. As four close relatives had also had aggressive breast cancers her doctor recommended bilateral mastectomy with further reconstruction in 2016 and 2017.
Matilde has rowed in boats and paddled in kayaks from an early age and has competed for her rowing club for 10 years. After her recovery from breast surgery, she heard about IBCPC and pink paddling and she started contacting former patients who had had breast cancer, along with friends and acquaintances, and from this Rosas del Plata was formed in July 2015. As she has paddled since the age of 6 it was second nature to her to start the team!
Dr Jane Ramsbotton
Dr Jane Ramsbottom is a Breast Physician at the Wesley Breast Clinic in Brisbane, Australia. She graduated from the University of Queensland in 1994. Jane worked as a general practitioner specialising in women’s health for 15 years before completing a breast fellowship and working as a breast physician for the past 16 years at the Wesley Breast Clinic.
Jane was diagnosed with a multifocal breast carcinoma in 2012 and subsequently had a bilateral mastectomy and chemotherapy. She started paddling in 2018 after hearing about a wonderful group of women called Missabittatitti. Jane has loved every moment of the pink spirit and completed the 2019 Ord River Dragon Boat Marathon, 55km in the Kimberley Region, Western Australia. Jane cannot wait to compete in her first IBCPC festival in New Zealand in 2023. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking with her family and friends, playing golf and running.
Barbara has been Communications Officer at EUROPA DONNA (ED) – The European Breast Cancer Coalition since 2007. As part of her role, she maintains communication with ED’s 47 National Representatives and runs ED’s social media channels as well as organizes their biannual Advocacy Leader Conference and annual MBC conferences. Barbara helped develop the annual Breast Health Day Campaign which started in 2008 and she now runs the annual campaign that aims to inform women of all ages that lifestyle factors play an important role in the prevention and recurrence of breast cancer as well as the importance of the role of early detection of breast cancer.
Barbara’s motivation for getting involved with EUROPA DONNA was because of a strong family history of breast cancer and a belief that patient advocacy can make a real difference in the fight against breast cancer.
Following her breast cancer diagnosis in 2016, Barbara joined the Pink Amazons, Milano, Italy and she attended the IBCPC Dragon Boat Festival in Florence in 2018. While at the festival she had the opportunity to participate in the flower ceremony which was probably one of the most powerful experiences she has ever had as it was a sort of closure having studied there 17 years before following the death of her mother.
Barbara Klein has a B.A. degree in Fine Arts from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
Cosmina Grigore is a mother, wife and breast cancer survivor diagnosed in 2013 at the very young age of just 27.
While working on rewriting her life story after her cancer diagnosis, Cosmina studied and obtained several certifications in nutrition, nutrigenomics, Pilates, mindfulness, coaching and personal development.
She is the first breast cancer patient to become a Patient Coach in Romania and in 2016 she founded Imunis Association. Imunis is dedicated to educating and empowering cancer patients to rewrite their story after cancer. Cosmina has created some very unique programs in Romania such as “The New Cancer Patient Caravan” for which she was awarded Woman of The Year in 2016 as the project reached over 25 cities in Romania. Titles for programs include: “Womanhood after cancer” or “School for Cancer patients”. She has reached over 2000 patients from Romania and abroad through her work either online or offline.
In 2020 along with Marian Baban - Romanian sprint canoer who won three silver medals at the ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships – Cosmina created Imunis Dragons the first dragon boat team for breast cancer survivors in Romania.
Cosmina is also developing a lay version for cancer patients of the clinical guidelines for cancer nutrition for the European Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism (ESPEN). She is a coach, a woman with a bold vision who believes in the body’s wisdom, in the power of “#togetherness” and of the community, she cares deeply for the environment and guides patients to become the best version of themselves. She is dedicated to building her legacy after cancer through Imunis programs and showing that prevention matters. She is leading patients through her own lifestyle example proving that, indeed, you can rewrite your story and that emotional balance, sports, nutrition and great lifestyle are core pillars.
Shannon is originally from Canada and after years of travelling the world she landed in Australia in 2014 and never left.
Shannon works as a Registered Nurse and when she received the news of her diagnosis on January 22, 2020, four months before her 40th birthday that she had Invasive Ductal Breast Cancer with the Triple Negative Factor, Stage 3 she knew that she was in for the fight of her life.
Shannon began her treatment journey with five months of chemotherapy adding in all of the chemotherapy medication she could, followed by surgery and a month of radiation. She also because of her age faced numerous questions about what her future would hold.
A pharmacist that Shannon worked with told her about dragon boating as she knew that Shannon has always been involved with sports at many levels. Shannon joined DA Penrith in Sydney, Australia as soon as her treatment regime was completed and has not looked back. She was immediately welcomed into the fold with the camaraderie of friendly, understanding women. She believes that women need to move forward without letting their diagnosis define them. Shannon very affectionately says that these women have become part of her family away from home.