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Congress (part 1)

Speech for Congress opening, 14th May 2023

Nau mai, haere mai. Tena kotou katoa

Welcome to you all.

I would like to acknowledge Paula Southgate, Mayor Hamilton, for her welcome

Also, to acknowledge our three keynote speakers:

Professor Ian Campbell

Lady Tureti Moxon

Associate Professor Logan Walker.

Also, here with us today we have European Dragon Boat Federation President and IDBF 4th Vice President Claudio Schermi.

And two doctors traveling with the UGO team from Italy.

We are so excited to see the representation of everyone here today. We have members of the IBCPC board, plus 5 Regional Coordinators, 15 National Representatives and 3 Country liaisons and all of you representing your home country teams.

The theme we want to share through this festival is ENDURANCE and when we look back over the last, almost five years since the Congress in 2018, what an incredible change we have seen. Endurance has had to be front of mind in everything that we have done right from that Congress to this one. The measurement for me is against what we have achieved as a board aligning with our strategic plan. The strategic plan was established in mid-2020 and was the first strategic plan that the IBCPC has had since its inception.

I hark back to our mission statement which says:

“to encourage the establishment of breast-cancer Dragonboat 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”.

And our vision statement is:

“IBCPC is recognised globally as the leader in supporting those diagnosed with breast cancer in the opportunity to participate in a healthy lifestyle through Dragon Boating.

Our values are: Awareness, Participation, and Support.

We know that we have delivered on all of those particularly as we are now approached by the international federations to help them establish dragon boating as part of their communities and their championship programs as most recently witnessed in the European Dragonboat Federation and in the Pan Am Dragonboat Federation championships.

In Panama there was such a large contingent of breast cancer teams and despite some national federations having not paid their fees, through the connection with IBCPC these teams were allowed to participate.

The three pillars of our organisation are:

Governance, Growth and Development, and Engagement

In governance we want to provide the foundation for IBCPC to operate at the highest level of integrity and ensure the organisation remains sustainable for the future.

You will see changes recommended later in the Congress as part of the need to ensure that we have good governance in place. These are predominantly around operational matters and the continuation of intellectual knowledge.

In growth and development, we talk about encouraging the development of breast cancer paddling as a contribution to a healthy lifestyle and to expand and continually improve the range of services and programs we offer to meet the needs of paddlers affected by breast cancer.

The best way to do this is through outreach and we have had incredible success in 2019 and 2022 with the growth of establishment of breast cancer dragon boating in Israel, the establishment in the Bahamas and in Europe where we are working constantly as we see the potential opportunities there as being beyond our wildest dreams. Latin and South America is going crazy with new teams developing all the time. They just need the boats now to paddle on the water.

Acknowledgement by the medical profession has been proven in terms of breast cancer paddling contributing to a healthy lifestyle. We saw a wonderful piece of research come out of Italy with regards to exactly this where a team of paddlers were the trial group for this research. The establishment of our own Medical Advisory Panel has also been invaluable in disseminating and sharing research, ideas, and programmes.

Engagement is our third pillar. We are encouraged by the engagement we see on our social media pages, through the newsletter and in general. We want to see this grow even more as we build these networks and work on the frontline more now that we can travel freely. Our further engagement has seen us establish the position of Male BC Ambassador, Mark O’Connor. Mark happily shares his story with the male survivors. We have always been inclusive since the establishment of IBCPC, we do not discriminate based on race, gender, or creed. The only criteria are that you must have had a diagnosis of breast cancer.

As noted above we are being sought out by the continental dragon boat federations to help them to establish, not just breast-cancer dragon boat paddling, but all forms of dragon boat paddling. The tail that is IBCPC is most certainly wagging the dog. We are a big part of the paddling community, also the championship communities and we see no reason why this should not continue, this is our mantra and our reason for being. I have been told that we always steal the limelight at these other events, where the media seeks us out and their focus is on breast cancer competitors rather than the other competitors.

Many of the moments I refer to have been reported in our newsletters over the last almost five years so I will not repeat them here today.

Through the levies received from previous festivals and the small per paddler levy payable for this festival ($20US per registrant in the case of NZ, the highest levy yet) we believe that we will have the funds needed to continue with our outreach over the coming years.

I would like to thank the board for the amazing support that they have given to me personally, to my ideas and vision, and in their undying commitment to the organisation. It is bittersweet then that we farewell three of our board members this year. Jo Parry and Betty Solley have been co-opted members of the IBCPC board since its first Congress in 2010.

Jo has worked as communications director and her knowledge of all things technical regarding the website etc. has been invaluable. She is also an exceptionally good filter for my, at times emotive writing.

Betty since inception of IBCPC has had the role of membership director. Betty as an award-winning ex-teacher is incredibly diligent in what she does in managing the membership rolls. She often laughs at me as I tell her I have a target for the numbers of new teams that we want to reach and every time we reach that target, I let out a big yahoo. My goal to get to before this festival was 300 member teams up from the 200 odd in 2018, we now sit at 310. Yahoo Betty, we have done it…. Our country growth has seen us go from 20 to 37 again another huge leap.

We also farewell Ali Sutton. Ali has been our secretary since the Congress in 2018 and has been an invaluable person in that role.

Betty, Jo, and Ali, I would like to ask you to come up please to receive a small token of our appreciation.

In my speech in 2018 as President elect, I encouraged you all to “dream big”, I encourage you all again to do exactly that. Never stop dreaming, always look for the bright side of life, share the love and the joy.

I will address the meeting further post the keynote speakers when we deal with matters pertaining to voting etc.

In the meantime, I ask you to enjoy our keynote speakers I think you will find that the knowledge that they will impart is interesting.

The keynote speakers at the Congress were:

1. Professor Ian Campbell OZNM. Ian is a Professor of Surgery at the University of Auckland Medical School and a breast and general surgeon at Waikato Hospital specialising in the treatment of breast cancer since 1989. He is the founder and Chair of the Chair of the Breast Cancer Research Trust. He also designs and runs clinical trials.

2. Lady Tureti Moxon is herself a survivor of breast cancer, has a legal background and is a strong advocate for equity in all areas of health, education, social services, and justice. She will speak about the inequities in treatment in ethnic minorities.

3. Associate Professor Logan Walker who has just discovered a gene mutation that may lead to the development of drug to decrease the risk of breast cancer. He is based here in our hometown of Christchurch. Associate Professor Logan Walker's primary research is focused on understanding how genetic changes that cause an increased risk of cancer and/or affect tumour pathology.

We are pleased to share the power point from Logan Walker’s presentation. As in all the keynote presentations it was the ad-lib moments of content from the presenters that were so enlightening.

We would like to note the acknowledgement of the NZBCF National Register for all the 30,000 voices (that is an amazing number for the data collection).