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Letter from the President

As I sit and write this update it is a beautiful sunny day in Christchurch, New Zealand as we are in the very last day of autumn, with the first day of winter upon us. It is so lovely to see the blue blue sky and to be able to enjoy this before it gets much cooler.

Well, what an incredible time it has been for so many of us as we learn to live in this new world that has been brought about by COVID-19. Some countries like my own have excelled in managing this pandemic and we now have zero active cases here, quite possibly the first country in the world to do so. Today so many other countries are on exactly the same path, while others are still struggling to manage the spread of the virus through community transmission.

We feel deeply for all of those who have lost loved ones and have been unable to be with them in their hours of passing, or to mourn them, that is certainly one of the greatest tragedies of this whole pandemic.

It is encouraging to see countries that are reemerging out of the sadness and especially where we have member teams who are well and truly on the path of recovery. In Israel and Venice, Italy we have recently seen member teams out enjoying paddling again, this is so very heartening to see.

It is also equally as encouraging to see how quickly many countries are moving to not only identify the genome, Israel has announced that they have an antibody that neutralizes coronavirus, even amongst those infected, and many countries are now using plasma to treat the virus. It is incredible to see the speed at which these discoveries are happening and this puts us in great heart particularly in light of some borders about to open and potential travel across borders within a short period of time. New Zealand had its first commercial flight land this week from Los Angeles, a big milestone. No doubt those people on board will go into isolation for two weeks, but that’s a massive step towards borders opening. Our government is in discussion to open the borders between Australia and the Pacific in the coming months, which is good news as we want to visit to make sure of one of our newest teams in Fiji is doing okay. Speaking of new teams, we have just added another new country, Romania, taking our total number of countries to 31.

In terms of paddling opportunities we have all really loved watching everyone on Zoom and on videos enjoying virtual meet ups and connecting possibly much more than they would’ve had they been in their paddling season. While not physically on the water they certainly connected on an emotional level.

Further in this newsletter you will see detail about possibly the first dragon boat event that may be available in the northern hemisphere, the PANAM Dragonboat Federation Club Crew Championships are due to be held in Trinidad and Tobago in March 2021. The Federation wishes to include a breast-cancer category and further in terms of inclusiveness they will also look to add another breast-cancer category for novice teams that have not previously competed in their own countries national championships such as those in Latin America. We are really heartened by this and thank them hugely for the opportunity they are creating for these teams to be able to enjoy some racing, albeit at the end of their paddling seasons.

In recent conversations with a potential sponsor I was asked where the headquarters of the IBCPC is. My response was that we don’t have a headquarters as such, as we are a truly global organisation with our members and directors of the board based globally. I did however advise them that the spiritual home of breast cancer dragon boating work has, and always will be, in Canada where this movement started in 1995. This company is a very big global organisation with a presence in 50 countries. I can say that they were most impressed by the fact that we are a truly global organisation and that we can be so nimble and active in so many locations.

As I close off I want to ask you to please take good care of yourselves and your loved ones in what has been a time of unrest and turmoil particularly most recently in the US with the protesting and rioting which seems to have pushed COVID-19 into the background. It is so very important that we stay connected, that we support each other, and that we hold each other in our hearts with a great deal of love and compassion.

All the very best to all of you, take care, stay well and safe, and if the opportunity arises, paddle hard.

Many virtual hugs to you all.