Elizabeth Ford, IBCPC National Rep for British Columbia Island, Canada
New National Representative
I was born and raised in Alberta where I began my teaching career. In 1987 I moved to Ontario for a one-year M.Ed. program. Twenty-eight years later, I returned to the west. I began dragon boating in 2012 with SNCC Hope Floats in Welland, Ontario. I was amazed by the supportive breast cancer survivors’ dragon boat community I discovered when I joined that team. Hope Floats showed me that a full, healthy life was possible after breast cancer. Through participating in all their activities and festivals I realized that a BCS dragon boat team is far more than a sports team; it is a community of friends who give each other social and emotional support.
My husband’s career was evolving and we briefly moved to Kingston in 2014 where I paddled with the Chestmates. In October 2014, I flew to Sarasota for the IBCPC Participatory Festival as the Captain of the Grape Canadian Survivors. This composite team had paddlers from SNCC Hope Floats, Hope Chest from Buffalo NY, and Survivors’ Abreast in Peterborough. That experience, paddling on a composite team and going to the IBCPC Participatory Festival, showed me again how vibrant the breast cancer survivor dragon boat community is.
My husband’s career continued to change; as he looked for work, my only criteria for location was, “Do they have a survivors’ dragon boat team?” I knew I would have a community of support from the moment we arrived in our new home, wherever that would be, as long as there was a dragon boat team. His new job brought us to Victoria where I joined the Island Breastrokers in 2015. I was the captain for IBS when they went to Florence for the 2018 IBCPC Participatory Festival. Paddling with IBS continues to be a fantastic experience as they fully encompass the IBCPC motto that “exercise is medicine”.
I look forward to sharing information about festivals, events and all things dragon boating with the BC Island teams.