Chestmates Dragon Boat Team

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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 6 to 7 p.m. on Mondays and Thursdays between May and September.

Our member's ages have ranged from 20+ to 80+, and we still have original paddlers from 2003 paddling in our dragon boat in 2021!

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Chestmates Dryland Training Exercises

Available HERE

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Meet The 2021Team

COACH      Sarah Emery

STEER        Huw Davies

STEER        Helen Tolles

STEER        Ros Hanes (occasional)

CAPTAIN    Tammy MacDonald

Amanda Walsh

Angela Benn-Dacosta

Christine Styles

Colleen Lawrie

Darlene Evans

Diana Lindsay

Elizabeth Stachura

Heather Jamieson

Iris Little

Jane Kitchen

Janice Firth

Jo-Ann Kennedy

Karin McVean

Lesley Thompson

Lilian Davies

Linda Jackson

Lori Cox

Lynne Funnell

Mary Peel

Mary-Lynne Ascough

Nancy Lemont

Renata Bianchi

Sarah Hillcoat

Sarah Young

Sharon Ansell

Sheila Menard

Sheila York

Tonja Easton

Terri McNutt

Willi Clark

Willie Kyer

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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

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.

Governor General announces 135 new appointments to the Order of Canada

December 29, 2021

Her Excellency the Right Honourable Mary Simon, Governor General of Canada, announced 135 appointments to the Order of Canada. The new appointees include 2 Companions (C.C.), 39 Officers (O.C.), 1 honorary Member and 93 Members (C.M.).

The Order of Canada is one of our country’s highest civilian honours. Its Companions, Officers and Members take to heart the motto of the Order: DESIDERANTES MELIOREM PATRIAM ("They desire a better country").

Created in 1967, the Order of Canada recognizes outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation. More than 7,000 people from all sectors of society have been invested into the Order. Those who bear the Order’s iconic snowflake insignia have changed our nation’s measure of success and, through the sum of their accomplishments, have helped us build a better Canada.

Donald Chisholm McKenzie, O.C., M.S.M.
Sidney, British Columbia

For his expertise in sports medicine and for his seminal research on the effectiveness of exercise as an intervention for breast cancer patients.