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From the Desk of the President

Submitted by Meri Gibson

WOW, what a few months it has been since we put out our last newsletter. So much has happened that we want to bring you up to speed. You will see in this newsletter, which is now edited by Louise Granahan, our communications director, that there are over 30 articles! It’s just brilliant to see teams so engaged in wanting to be a part of this newsletter and to share their stories.

For me personally there has been a lot of travelling, a lot of helping to establish breast cancer Dragonboat paddling in other countries. This is the start of our southern hemisphere dragon boat season, although I will be sidelined for 6 weeks due to an injury, and of course the launch of the festival for 2026.

Breast cancer Dragonboat paddling was established by Dr Don McKenzie in 1995, who would have thought that it’s almost 30 years since this was started and was then carried on by people such as Jane Frost, Sandy Smith and others who were in the original boat and wanted to continue the sport. From its inception in 1995 to the time I was elected president in July 2018 (23 years) there were approximately190 teams across 19 countries. Fast forward another five years and we are sitting at over 340 teams across 39 countries and by January 2024 we will be in 40 countries.

This is phenomenal growth in just the last five years and considering that almost 2 ½ of the those five years were in travel lockdown due to Covid restrictions. At our heart outreach remains an integral part of helping to establish those teams and bringing new countries on board, not only that it is the dedication of our national representatives and ex pats who have moved to other countries who help to start teams in their homeland or their new adopted country. Thank you does not seem enough but it is all I can offer to those who have played a part alongside myself in helping to establish new countries and new teams. We are taking the sport to all corners of the globe and ensuring that everyone knows “Exercise is medicine”.

At the beginning of October, I was lucky enough to travel to 5 countries, three of those I had not been to before and three of those do not have breast cancer teams. We are well on the way to ensuring that happens. The travel includes another successful Bahamas dragon boat festival, then onto Jamaica where we have found the perfect location, now we just need to get boats and start teams. In Barbados great conversations were had with the breast screening clinic and there is an appetite to introduce the sport there. In Puerto Rico, where there are boats but no breast-cancer teams, another very fruitful meeting took place and there will be an opportunity to showcase the sport in January 2024.

The growth in Panama is quite exceptional and is in huge part due to the success of our national representative Floribeth de Finizo Campos. It is with great delight that we advise that Floribeth will become the regional coordinator for central America and the Caribbean working very closely with myself and Lucia de Ranieri and of course the National and country representatives in those regions.

October 25th at 9:30am European time saw the launch of the IBCPC France 2026 festival campaign, Website and Facebook page. The website is currently a placeholder with very good FAQs section to help you to start to plan your adventure in 2026. We are sure that you will absolutely love the location of Aix les Bains as much as we did when we visited there in July of this year to assess its suitability for the festival.

You can join the Facebook page at: 2026 IBCPC Participatory Dragon Boat Festival, France

Placeholder Website can be accessed at:

You can also find a video of the launch, and in that video there are some fantastic video snippets from NZ.

The organisers of the event: Pagaie des Loins and Dragon Boat Attitude Location is: Lac du Bourget, Aix Les Bains, French Alps region of France Dates are: August 24-30th, 2026.
Last month the board approved the update of the IBCPC logo to modernise it and to encompass male survivors also. You will see this updated on our website and our communications in the coming months.

It’s really great to have a working board of seven now and everybody is doing a lot of work to continue to grow the sport of breast cancer Dragonboat paddling around the globe. I wish to thank my board members for their enthusiasm and input. It’s great to have a group of like-minded people working for such a fabulous common goal.

As this will be the last newsletter for 2023 and the last one before Chanukah, Christmas and New Year, I would like to wish you all the very best for the upcoming holiday season and hope that you have a wonderful time with friends, family and loved ones over the Christmas and New Year holidays and that 2024 heralds new beginnings and much excitement for all of you.

Blessings to everyone, many big virtual hugs around the globe and paddles up!

Ma te wa