Abreast of Life (ABOL) dragon boat paddlers Jillian Broadbent and Meri Gibson joined with Australian crew DAM Busters to compete at the International Breast Cancer Paddlers Commission (IBCPC) regatta in Peterborough (Ontario, Canada) in June 2010.
Breast Cancer Dragon Boating began in Canada in 1996 and has now spread around the world to many countries. New Zealand has nine teams in Auckland, Waikato, Tauranga, Taranaki, Wellington, Wairarapa, Blenheim and Christchurch.
The first International Participatory Festival was in Vancouver Canada in 2005, to commemorate the 10 year celebration by Abreast in a Boat of their race against breast cancer.
Caloundra, on the Sunshine Coast of Australia in 2007 hosted Abreast in Australia with seventy six international teams.
Survivors Abreast and the International Breast Cancer Paddlers Commission www.ibcpc.com have created the platform for the next event at Peterborough, Canada June 2010.
As well as the ABOLers (participating with the Melbourne Dam Busters) are eight other NZ paddlers who will join The International Pink Sisters, a Canadian team.
Entries at Peterborough include 37 Canadian teams, 12 from the US, 14 from Australia, three from England, two Italian teams and a South African crew. For full results see survivorsabreast.com
On Friday, 11-June the Festival Parade of about 70 teams marched from City Hall through the downtown on George Street to Del Crary Park, a distance of 1.5 km.
Downtown businesses supported the parade - “pinking up” the streets and storefronts.
The parade was followed by the "Mayor's BBQ" and Opening Ceremony.
Races ran from 8 to 5pm on Saturday and Sunday.
Meri Gibson commented "at least we only had cold weather at our (NZDBA) Nationals. We have rain and threats of thunder and lightning in Peterborough".
As Hayley Johnston-Coutts reports "their first race was a bit scratchy and we did a 2.42. The second race we got a shocking start but the girls pulled it back, won the race and knocked 7 seconds off their time.
Absolutely awesome effort. GO DAM BUSTERS!"
Then the DAM Busters won their second heat in 2 minutes and 35 seconds.
Saturday night included a Gala cocktail dinner evening, featuring guest speakers including Dr. Don McKenzie, a hero in the breast cancer survivor world. See photos of Day 2 of the IBCPC...
And this just in - Dam Busters finished and extremely creditable THIRTE
ENTH place (that's 13th) in the whole wide world! And second place in the Southern Hemisphere. Well done Meri and Jillian...
The ABOL paddlers (and their 'host' team DAM Busters from Melbourne) want to thank and acknowledge Bob Smith his wife Tanis who are their local 'Ambassadors' for the festival.