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Update from Germany

Are you ready? Attention! Go! Ladybugs Germany celebrate 10-years-anniversary

For 10 years, the Ladybugs (Lünen, Germany) have paddled together. In April 2011, Ladybugs met for the first time. With that, they became the third pink dragon boat group founded in Germany.

Although we can't really celebrate due to Covid restrictions, we're happy we've reached this mile stone. Because – it's just a few years ago that we did not dare to hope even for our 5th anniversary.

2014 our supporting canoe club stopped supporting the pink paddling movement – and left the Ladybugs alone without trainer, without steering person, even without a dragon boat.

The situation seemed hopeless – and a lot of our members left Ladybugs to look for other horizons.

Giving up was not an option

But some of us had really fallen in love with dragon boating, they did not want to stop paddling. And honestly, giving up is never a good option – that's how we survived breast cancer, and that is how we determined to tackle a route to go on with paddling. In fact, a smaller, but very enthusiastic group of Ladybugs initiated a restart. We organized ourselves, looked for supporters, started networking. We found a new canoe club – definitely a lucky strike for our further development. Looking back, we're so grateful that the 'KSC Lünen' opened their arms to welcome our small group of BCS paddlers in 2015.

Today, Ladybugs are active on national and international level, the group is growing again, we have BCS steersmen (or better: steerswomen), we found sponsors to get our own boats. We own two boats now, one 5-bench and one 10-bench. The last one we've just bought last year, which allowed us to do at least a limited training with distance in the boat during last summer and autumn.

In 2015 we became members of IBCPC. A little decision that led to a much bigger one: our participation in the great IBCPC festival in Florence 2018. This was definitely a highlight for the Ladybugs: To have been part of this overwhelming and emotional event will be in the memory of our heads and hearts forever.

Very special present

Due to Covid, we could not celebrate our 10th anniversary in April – we could not even meet as just us Ladybugs, to say nothing of paddling together at all. Hopefully we can catch up later this year.

But we made ourselves a very special present: Just in time for the anniversary we published a book about our group – and about pink dragon boating: 'Are you ready? Attention! Go! Die Ladybugs – Im Drachenboot gegen den Brustkrebs (The Ladybugs – Fighting against breast cancer in a dragon boat).

The book describes a little bit of our history, but it's not just that. We share what we do beside paddling, how we manage to keep in contact during Covid, why we name ourselves 'Ladybugs'. Some of us speak very open-mindedly about our personal view on fears and our chances with breast cancer, on dragon boating and on Ladybugs.

Last but not least, the reader will find some high-level background information on pink paddling, history, training, medical view.

Celebration maybe in late summer

No, we cannot celebrate right now, we have to wait until Covid restrictions have been released. But with more people vaccinated, we do hope we can have a big party in late summer. Keep our fingers crossed…. The work we did for publishing our book was a great motivation for us during Covid time. We're sorry to say it's written in German, difficult to read for most 'pinkies' around the world. Even if you can't read the book, let me at least reveal here why we name ourselves Ladybugs: It's a play of words with the name of Virgin Mary.

When we thought about a good name for our group, we did not want a martial name, on the other hand it should be more than just 'pink dragon', and suitable even on international level. So, what could we do? Hm … our foundation was initiated by a group of physicians at the 'St.-Marien-Hospital', named after Virgin Mary. And the German word for the red bug with black dots is 'Marienkäfer'. Marienkäfer -> Ladybugs! Hooray - our name was found!

Here we are – the Ladybugs – for 10 years now, and hopefully for a lot of more years to come.