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Numbers, Numbers, and More Numbers

Updated: Jun 6, 2023

Submitted by Meri Gibson


I am fascinated by statistics and whilst they can be very subjective based on the information that you receive, they do help to give you guiding principles by which to work and in our case, they are what we have used to look at how we grow this organisation globally via establishing more breast-cancer teams in every corner of the world.


I have often used the New Zealand numbers as a benchmark for what is possible, we were early adopters of breast cancer dragon boat paddling after Canada, Australia, and the USA and as such I have always been fascinated by the fact that we have had the dubious title of having the highest number of BCS teams per capita in the world. Watching the statistics from the presentations by Professor Ian Campbell and Associate Professor Logan Walker at the IBCPC Congress really shone a light on those statistics.


Call me competitive if you like but it’s a title that has fascinated me in terms of our per capita numbers. I don’t know if we have more incidences of breast cancer than anywhere else, but I do think there are factors that come into play and they would be that we are an island nation, we are surrounded by water, not that we train on a lot of that water in many wild ocean locations, other than Auckland, Tauranga, and Wellington. But we are water people, we understand water, and we enjoy water. We are also often used as a testing ground for new telco products as we have quick and large uptake. We are early adopters, and because we are such early adopters as I said, we are competitive for the right or the wrong reasons, we always like to have some kind of statistical data to bounce against us.


If you look at the global population of 8 billion, give or take, and the number of teams that we have globally as IBCPC members, the potential is phenomenal. To give you an idea of what that could look like, in Australia with a population of approx. 26 million, based on the NZ numbers of one team per 500,000 population, there is the potential to have 52 teams in Australia, where there are currently 40 teams. In the USA with a population of 320 million there is the potential to have 160 teams there are currently 60. Following my logic there is an enormous amount of work still to do and an incredible amount of potential for us to continue to do that work.


Globally we are super excited by the prospect of helping to build more teams and there is no doubt that our mantra of “exercise is medicine” is the perfect platform to work from.


Dragon boating is one of the best exercises that those diagnosed and treated for breast cancer can undertake as part of their rehabilitative recovery.


I am super pleased with the 5-year strategic plan that we have put in place. We are 2½ years into that and we know that sets a benchmark for us to continuously assess where we are sitting against those plans.


You will note at Congress we passed amendments to the bylaws providing the guiding principles that will be used by the board to enable us to make strategic and appropriate decisions for IBCPC and its members.


We are acutely aware of the difficulties of operating globally and the current financial restraints that were introduced by the anti-money laundering act. I can personally tell you that every transaction was scrutinised for the festival by accountants where we were constantly checking with the Inland Revenue department that we did not break the law in anyway way.


We are not frightened by these barriers; we are excited to jump over them to fulfil our mission… the more breast cancer survivor thrivers that are paddling the happier we will be.



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