25 years ago, in November 1998, two women from the greater Edmonton area, gathered a group of breast cancer survivors together to see if there was enough interest to form a dragon boating team. The interest expressed was significant, so from this point, a volunteer executive was formed. This executive had the formidable task of determining the best path for the team, and began working immediately to create Breast Friends Society, an Alberta charitable organization, registered in February 1999. The team’s name was agreed upon as Breast Friends Dragon Boat Racing Team Edmonton.
Breast Friends is proud to be one of the earliest breast cancer dragon boating teams to be registered in Canada! We are also extremely proud to say that one of our original paddlers, Joyce Milne, still actively paddles with our team to this date, proving that physical activity does indeed benefit Breast Cancer Survivors! We are very thankful to her, as we are to all our original members, for all their hard work and contributions, which made Breast Friends Dragon Boat Racing Team the amazing club that it is today.
To commemorate our 25th anniversary, Breast Friends Society has collaborated with the City of Edmonton’s Benchmark Program to develop a commemorative plaque, which has been affixed to a bench in the city park where Breast Friends has met before every practice, the spot where we gathered for warm-ups, and rested our paddles and gear before heading out onto the mighty North Saskatchewan River.
Here is a lovely photo of four of our originating members, from left to right, Marlene Torgerson, Joyce Milne, MaryAnn Empson, and Cassie Seymour, taken by our bench.