Breast Cancer Paddlers (BCP)

Mission

To foster the development of opportunities for individuals diagnosed with breast cancer to revive and thrive through  participation in the sport of dragon boat.

We are Breast Cancer Survivors!

The pairing of dragon boat with breast cancer survivors is pure genius. A diagnosis of breast cancer can be challenging; joining a dragon boat team and paddling with other breast cancer survivors is empowering and life-affirming. It is a refreshing dose of exercise, connection, and positivity that makes one feel alive! 

Many breast cancer survivors may never have participated in organized sports before their diagnosis, and they now have the opportunity to demonstrate how exercise can help reduce the chance of recurrence of their cancer and bring more hope and joy to their lives.

BCP in the News

On October 5, an Ohio BCP team was featured on Good Morning America. Watch HERE. 

 

 

Dragonheart Vermont Sisters from Burlington, Vermont

Dragonheart Vermont Sisters from Burlington, Vermont

Linked in Pinks' steerer, Dorothy, takes a first place win.

Linked in Pinks' steerer, Dorothy, takes a first place win.

Survivors In Sync Captains, Paula and Angela, enjoy paddling in the rain.

Survivors In Sync Captains, Paula and Angela, enjoy paddling in the rain.

To connect with a team near you, email your USDBF BCP Regional Representative at bcpcommittee@usdbf.org.

 

Teamwork and friendship abound at BCP events

Teamwork and friendship abound at BCP events

Ireland’s Mark O’Connor, the IBCPC Male Breast Cancer Ambassador

Ireland’s Mark O’Connor, the IBCPC Male Breast Cancer Ambassador

The Origin of Breast Cancer Paddling

In 1996, doctors in Vancouver, Canada challenged a commonly-held medical belief that strenuous upper body exercise in breast cancer patients could lead to lymphedema. They gathered a team of survivors for a six-month training program (with the goal of racing at a festival), and the very first BCP team in the world, Abreast in a Boat, was born. Their goal was to prove that the repetitive motion of dragon boat paddling would dispel this theory and sure enough, these pioneering women completed their six-month program without a single case of lymphedema. In the process, they also learned that the social connections formed among teammates appeared beneficial to both the paddlers’ physical and mental health.

BCP teams take part in IBCPC Participatory Festival, Sarasota, Florida

BCP teams take part in IBCPC Participatory Festival, Sarasota, FL

Breast cancer survivors are also a driving force behind the growth of dragon boat in the United States. Teams participate in races locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally. According to the International Breast Cancer Paddlers’ Commission (IBCPC), there are currently over 260 BCP teams across the world, representing 33 countries. In July 2018, more than 125 BCP teams traveled to Florence, Italy to race on the Arno River at the IBCPC’s International BCP Festival. In March 2023, BCP teams from around the world will gather in New Zealand (newzealandbcs2023.com) to again celebrate our Sisterhood.

BCP teams gather for 2018 IBCPC Participatory Festival, Florence, Italy

BCP teams gather for 2018 IBCPC Participatory Festival, Florence, Italy

The Flower Ceremony has become a heartwarming tradition of dragon boat festivals. Incorporated into a busy day of racing is a stirring moment for breast cancer paddlers to gather and reflect on their journey. Flowers are thrown into the water to embrace their sisterhood and to honor those who have died from breast cancer.

Lake Champlain Dragon Boat Festival Flower Ceremony

Lake Champlain Dragon Boat Festival Flower Ceremony

USA BCP EVENT Opportunities

Please visit the USDBF Events page and search for BCP events using the category search feature.