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Chestmates Dragon Boat Team

Chestmates is the only Breast Cancer Survivor Dragon Boat team in the catchment serviced by the South Eastern Regional Cancer Centre. To be a member of Chestmates, a paddler must have had breast cancer.

Each paddler must consult with their physician to ensure it is safe to paddle, in particular if you have just completed your course of treatment. Because Dragon Boating is a physical sport, we recommend a good solid level of fitness which can be enhanced by engaging in the free fitness programs offered at BCAK. Chestmates provides the coaching, and equipment you need to paddle. The team connection is amazing – we paddle to bring hope and awareness to others with the diagnosis of breast cancer.

Our team paddles out of Collins Bay Marina, twice a week from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Mondays and Thursdays from May to the end of September.  

Our member's ages have ranged from 20+ to 80+!

Breast Cancer Dragon Boat History in Canada  -   Dr Donald McKenzie

In 1996, Donald McKenzie, a sports medicine physician and exercise physiologist, initiated and developed a physical training program for the benefit of 24 breast cancer survivors. When women living with the disease began to challenge the notion that they should lead physically-restricted lives after surgery, Dr. Mckenzie formed and coached the "Abreast in a Boat" Dragon Boat paddling team consisting entirely of women who have survived breast cancer. Thanks to his initiative, most provinces in Canada now have a breast cancer dragon boat team. His remarkable achievements, enhanced by his guidance and caring, have given breast cancer survivors across Canada a sense of confidence and pride, and a lifeline to a better existence.

 

Meet The Team

Audrey Harvey

Christine Styles

Darlene Evans

Deena Rasky

Donna Hackett

Fizzabai Burton

Heather Jamieson

Helen Tolles

Huw Davies (steers person)

Iris Little

Jane Kitchen

Jo-Ann Kennedy

Kim Gruetzman

Lesley Thompson

Lilian Davies

Linda Jackson (co-captain)

Lori Cox (co-captain)

Lynne Funnell

Maggie Daicar

Mary Peel

Mary-Lynne Ascough

Mary Weston

Nancy Lemont

Patty Lotton

Renata Bianchi

Sandra Tomlinson

Sarah Arrowsmith

Sarah Emery (coach)

Sarah Young

Sheila Menard

Sheila York

Susan Cross

Suzanne Smith

Tammy MacDonald

Willi Clark

Willie Kyer

WHAT OUR PADDLERS SAY

In 2007 I joined and fell in love with dragon boating which was not something that I ever thought I would do as I wasn’t a big fan of water.

That was 14 years ago, and I am still loving paddling. I’m so proud to be a chestmate and part of an awesome and amazing group of women.

I was welcomed from day 1 and have made lifelong friendships. I had 4 brothers growing up, but I now have a boatful of sisters. The support and strength I’ve gotten is beyond amazing

Chestmates welcome all survivors and their families. I’d highly recommend it.

Lynne Funnell

I want to say to everyone, Sarah, Lori, Heather and BCAK board members, and all the other wonderful women I have met during the short time I have been a member of this group, a huge thank you for your warmth and love. I don't know most of your names but I hope my young seatmate Sue is on this list.  

 Breast cancer was the last thing I ever thought would happen to me and I was horrified when, at age 81,  I got my diagnosis in May 2021,  but having breast cancer and being able to join the Chestmates has introduced me to women I would probably never otherwise have met so as the saying goes,  "Every cloud has a silver lining,"  

I plan to stay fit this winter and look forward to paddling next summer and going to Vancouver with all of you in June. 

Maggie Daicar

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