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Letter from the President

December 2021

It is hard to believe that we are already in December, where has the year gone. It has been one filled with so many challenges for so many of you in terms of how your country managed COVID and whether you were able to get out on the water. I wonder what 2022 will bring us as more countries start to open up and travel becomes a reality, albeit in a very different way to what we have previously experienced.

Christmas will soon be with us and it will be an opportunity (hopefully) for you all to reconnect with family and friends. I know that I am looking forward to the summer (which officially starts today in the Southern Hemisphere) and to enjoy a warm and sunny Christmas.

I was fortunate enough to have a conversation with Nigel Bedford, IDBF Chair, Para Athletes Commission. We had a great conversation discussing the similarities between our two organisations. You can read all about that further in the newsletter.

At this stage many governments have not made it mandatory for all eligible people to be vaccinated, therefore we cannot and would not make it mandatory for our paddlers to be vaccinated. We understand that not everyone is able to receive the vaccine for many reasons. However, we also know that many governments have stated there will be vaccination mandates for people to attend large gatherings and events. Some dragon boat regattas can have 1000+ people in attendance and we know there will be restrictions on larger gatherings, therefore paddlers may be required to be vaccinated to participate at events of certain gathering sizes. Many countries including New Zealand have now moved away from lockdowns and have instead moved to vaccination numbers.

The IBCPC Medical Advisory Panel (MAP) has been working on some policy statements, the first of these is the Vaccine Policy statement which you will find below.

The IBCPC Steering Committee wish to congratulate Dr Don McKenzie on being named as one of the inaugural “Hall of fame” members of the IDBF as they celebrated their 30-year anniversary recently. Don and those 25 brave original breast cancer survivors set a 25 year adventure into play with the formation of Abreast in a Boat. The 25 years of Breast Cancer Dragon boat paddling has also been beautifully recorded by Michelle Hanton and Eleanor Neilson in their book “Internationally Abreast-Exercise as Medicine”, which was released at the end of October.

We have another jampacked newsletter with lots of excellent articles to read. We love hearing from our member teams, so please keep these articles coming. The next newsletter will be in March 2022 (ironically if not for COVID we would have been preparing for the 2022, now 2023 festival).

In this newsletter there is a lovely article from the WonderBroads of Canada and they have a saying that just resonates with us all so much. It is adapted from the “Phenomenal Woman” by Maya Angelou. It goes like this:

“It’s in the reach of our arms

As we stretch over the boat

The twist of our body

The lips tight and determined

We’re WonderBroads


Phenomenal WonderBroads

That’s who we are.”

And yes, that is exactly who you all are (and some WonderMen also). Never forget that you can reclaim what you lost in your diagnosis of breast cancer. Continue this brilliant adventure you are all on and yes be your most wonderful you.

I want to wish you all on behalf of the IBCPC Steering Committee a wonderful Xmas and New Year. Thank you for all you have done to participate not only in your own team, region, country but with us all at IBCPC.

I really look forward to seeing you (physically I hope) in 2022.

Blessings to you all.

Meri Gibson