This is a quilt made by the team by a colleague of mine (Mary).  Her mother made it before she died.  She had Breast and Ovarian cancer.  Family of one of my previous clients was going to take it to South Africa to Michelle Rennie who hoped to raise funds to help support the breast cancer program for women which is offered at the local hospital.  Michelle still volunteers in this program.  Thank you Michelle.  Doris believed in us and the awareness we do.  She would be happy the quilt funding is going to help other women with Breast Cancer.

                   CYPRUS STORY

10th International Dragon Boat Festival, April, 2018, Limassol, Cyprus

I felt very honoured to be a part of the International Pink Sisters Limassol crew.  The crew consisted of women from Cyprus, Germany, Austria, USA, and Canada.  Our April, 2018, adventure took us to the Island of Cyprus.  I was so excited to be able to help spread Breast Cancer Awareness there.

In Cyprus, we were welcomed with open arms.  So many questions came up from the Cyprus survivors' organizers and public.  Europa Donna women were so excited to see us.  They were eager to get into a boat and try paddling.  For some, it was their first time in a dragon boat.  At the races, our team was the one talked about.  We were the women of courage.  We travelled half way around the world to help other Breast Cancer Survivors.  While on the waterwe showed strength and power keeping up with the other teams.

The entire Cyprus trip was amazing; the island is very beautiful with a rich history and culture.  But, the highlight for me was meeting local Cypriot breast cancer survivors, and introducing the joy and benefits of paddling to them.  There were so many special moments such as being welcomed with open arms at Europa Donna house in Limassol by Evi Papadopoulos, President of Europa Donna Cyprus with her lovely group of ladies.  Here we shared our stories and even shed some tears.  But, they were tears of joy for having overcome obstacles in our breast cancer journey.  There were many memorable moments of these Cypriot breast cancer survivors paddling with us for the first time ever in a practice, and then on festival day in the races. We were so happy to share the awesome experience of paddling and racing with these incredible ladies and the look of delight on their faces as they finished a race...it was priceless!  Another very special moment was the piunk carnation ceremony which had not been seen before by the participating teams from Cyprus, UK, and Iran.  This brought a sentiment of emotion to the event.  Together with the Cypriot ladies, we made history as the first BCS team paddling in Cyprus in their 10th International Dragon Boat Festival.

I am so happy and proud to have played a part in making BCS paddling history in Cyprus.

Many thanks to International Pink Sisters, Evi, Kathy (one of the festival organizers), and the many willing volunteers who helped make this possible.

I have been a member of the Raging Mouflons for approximately a year now, and the past six months, we have been attempting to establish the Pink Mouflons team which will be comprised of 6 breast cancer survivors.  When I heard that the International Pink Sisters Dragon Boat Team would be visiting Cyprus to attend the 10th International Dragon Boat Festival, held on the 21st of April, 2018, I was extremely excited.  I met the team on the 19th of April when I visited the Yermasoyia Dam to train with them.  All of the International Pink Sisters team mates were eager to meet me and embrace me.  It was an amazing experience. It was as if we had known each other for years.  The day of the race was a fantastic experience.  I participated in the race with the Pink Sisters.  What moved me the most was when we threw our carnations into the river while the song, "I Will Survive" by Gloria Gaynor was playing in the background.  It was truly an unforgettable experience that I will treasure for the rest of my life.  Through dragon boating, I met some amazing women who are true breast cancer survivors.

When we introduced the pink flower ceremony everyone was awe struck.  Once again, my heart cried, tears poured out of me when we exited our boats.  You see everyone, and I mean everyone there formed a paddle arch for us to walk through.  I think we accomplished what we went there to do.  Europa Donna Cyprus, you rock!  Our sendoff dinner was fantastic.  Many friendships were made.  You will be in my heart forever. Evi did a closing circle for us.  We held hands, she said in one hand palm down, you give and the other hand palm up, you receive.  The entire trip felt like everyone gave something and we all received so much from each other.

With great sadness, Evi Papadopoulos, President of Europa Donna Cyprus, passed away in the Spring of 2019.  Evi was a pioneer advocating for breast cancer treatments, and breast cancer awareness throughout Europe.  We are truly blessed to have met the Cypriot festival organizers, Pink Moulins, volunteers from Europs Donn, and Evi.  Thank you for a truly memorable experience.  When Together, we paddle Together we have hope Together we have courage, so, Together, we survive!!

Authors: Louise Canada, Maria Cyprus, Nancy USA, and Mary Canada.  The crew participated in the festival in Amsterdam to raise breast cancer awareness on September 7, 2019.

Information on Donna Europa see their web site.

EUROPA DONNA - The European Breast Cancer Coalition is an independent non-profit organization whose members are affiliated groups from countries throughout Europe.  The Coalition works to raise awareness of breast cancer and to mobilize the support of European women in pressing for improved breast cancer education, appropriate screening, optimal treatment, and increased funding for research.  EUROPA DONNA represents the interests of European women regarding breast cancer to local and national authorities as weel to institutions of the European Union.

 

Each European country has their national representative and the Head Office contact is in Milan:  EUROPA DONNA - The European Breast Cancer Coalition

Piazza Amendola 3

20149 Milan, Italy

Email:  info@europadonna.org

International Pink Sisters Dragon Boat Team

 

 

ABOUT THE TEAM

 

International Pink Sisters dragon boat team of 20 courageous women who had never met descended upon Venice in May of 2008. These women came from different parts of Canada and the United States.

The women had several things in common. They are all breast cancer survivors and dragon boat paddlers. Their mission is to raise breast cancer awareness.

These brave women wanted to support the two Italian breast cancer teams to raise breast cancer awareness in Italy by paddling in the Vogalonga Race. They paddled along side the 1537 other participants 25 kilometers down the beautiful Venice canals.

This is a great quest as most races for all dragon boat teams are 500 meters. So to do 25 kilometers was extremely extraordinary.

To see the 3 breast cancer dragon boat teams all dressed in PINK the symbol of HOPE for breast cancer survivors paddle in down those canals was amazing.

Their supporters stood on the main bridge in with pride and join as they paddle their way down the Grand Canal. For paddlers and supports it was hard to keep the tears from falling down their faces!! These great courageous women had done what they set out to do!!!! in Venice.

In Sept 2009 the team comprised of South Africans, Americans and Canadians went to Lac de Joux Switzerland. Patsy Allen, the Swiss organizer said: “we loved the Pink Carnation Ceremony and hope to make that a part of our festival each yearâ€. These women truly spread their motto; together we have hope, courage, and strength. Together we Paddle!!! Showing other survivors spirit through their team song “ That’s what friends are forâ€. Pink Sisters arrived home with new friends and gold in the women’s division.

June 2010 the team of women from NZ, USA and Canada participated in the International Breast Cancer Dragon boat festival Peterborough, Canada

In 2012 it was extremely rewarding to race in Turkey as the 1stfemale crew and to be BCS as well.  Our tiller Maria Egner, from Windsor Canada, was the first woman tiller in Turkey!!! They put a male steersperson in the back of the boat and a male interpreter just in case she ran into trouble.   For the crew, it just meant we carried two extra people who were not paddling.  The comments were sure flying but it did not matter because we did not understand.  We just smiled and agreed and carried on. However by the 3rd race they let Maria steer with by herself. 

We can empathize with foreign teams who attend BCS festivals in English speaking countries.  We almost missed several races because we did not speak Turkish.

The insight of Tanya and Hakan, festival organizers in Turkey was amazing. The support they gave us was incredible.  They supplied 1,000 carnations for the ceremony.   Other teams’ crew members were instrumental in helping us sell some of them to raise money for breast cancer in Turkey.    The crowds and teams cheered us on!   

One of the festivals organizers, Hakan, was able to do some educational Breast cancer TV segments with the support of medical professionals. 

A spectator in the crowd saw the BCS carnation ceremony and was so touched he helped start the first BCS team in Istanbul. The city of Istanbul and the university have given support to the newly formed breast cancer team. The team in Istanbul was called Pink Lotus.   In one short year they had started two teams.  The second team in is Ankara the capital city.  The team's name was “Young Amazons.”    We were presented with the best community message trophy in Turkey and given medals to add to our hardware.  It is very hard to describe the kindness and support we have received around the world.      

International Pink Sisters has truly become an international team where women from different countries paddle together.  In May 2013 the crew raced in Florence and Venice and members were from: Ireland, South Africa, New Zealand, USA and Canada. It is amazing to see all these different women work together to get the crews to different countries to raise breast cancer awareness race and have fun!!  

The crew raced in Puerto Rico to raise breast cancer awareness Feb 2014 along with the crew SOS from Florida.  Pink Sisters requested the festival organizers arrange a Carnation ceremony.  Community people lined the path way to the boats waving carnations.  Women thanked us for showing them life is good after breast cancer. The mayor of Ponce got in the dragon boat for the carnation ceremony for their first breast cancer carnation ceremony.   The festival organizers were amazing with the support they had from the medical community and a donor for all the carnations. The saying at the airport is so true “One arrives in Puerto Rico as a guest and leaves as a friend”. In 2016 Puerto Rico did adopt the Breast cancer carnation ceremony into their festival.  The mayor gave recognition to International Pink Sisters for supporting them to help promote breast cancer awareness for the women in Puerto Rico.

In 2017 it was so exciting for the crew to support the small festival in San Pedro de Pinatar in Spain.  Spain has two BCS crews. One is very small young northern crew. It was amazing to support, encourage and offer hope to their young crew members.

International Pink Sisters is heading off to Limassol Cyprus to raise breast cancer awareness. The mission and  hope for 2018  is to support women in Cyprus so they will start their own BCS team.  The team is comprised of women from USA, Canada, Germany and Austria.  So far the organizers in Cyprus have been able to recruit 6 brave women in Cyprus to join us.  We are truly grateful to the festival organizers who have agreed to add a BCS division to their festival.  It will be exciting to be their to celebrate their 10th festival anniversary with the promotion of breast cancer awareness.  

 

 

STORIES

I joined the Dragon Boat sport in the year 2000 and really enjoyed being out on the water and the team comraderie.  In 2003 I was diagnosed with breast cancer and my team mates encouraged me to stay with the sport.  I joined the International Pink Sisters in 2008 on their Tour to Venice and instantly felt like a true sister to these women.  We all shared a common bond, that we had beat breast cancer and I felt the courage, hope and strength of these women.

The race in Venice was called the Volgalonga and I was thoroughly amazed at the response we got from the public.  We had crowds of people cheering us on, all along the canals for a total of 25km.  What a thrill it was to finish that race.  It made me realize what a great way this was to spread breast cancer awareness.

The International Pink Sisters have paddled in Singapore, Venice, Switzerland, as well as the USA and Canada.  In Switzerland we had such a strong team that we came home with a gold medal.  How very proud we all felt.  Every year new friends are made as we travel through different countries.

Last year we did the Dragon Boat Festival in the Philippines on the beautiful island of Boracay.  We welcomed three women from Manila to join our team.  These women turned out to be true advocates of our cause to bring awareness.  This was another event where we were cheered on by the whole beach crowd.  We were me by radio and television crews to do interviews and we even had lunch with the Senator, who in turn was trying to bring early detection and financial aid to the forefront.  We truly felt the need to help the women by bringing awareness as we heard quite a few sad stories of breast cancer.

Dragon Boat racing has really broadened my life as I would never have travelled to these countries alone.  I have met truly wonderful people along the way and feel I have enriched my life.  Truly there is life after breast cancer!

This year our team is made of women from Canada, USA, South Africa, and New Zealand  We are looking forward to our Dragon Boat Festival in Israel.  For me it will be my first visit to this country and I can't wait to get my paddle in the Sea of Gaililee.

HAZEL, International Pink Sisters

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TEAM  SONG

 

In English:

Keep smiling, keep shining,

Knowing you can always count on me, cause that what friends are for.

For good times and bad times, I will always be by your side,

Cause that's what friends are for

 

In Italian:

Tenere a sorridere, tenere che brilla

Sapere lei può contare sempre su me, per sicuro Che è che gli amici sono per

Per i buoni tempi ed i tempi cattivi che sarò sul suo lato per sempre più

Che è che gli amici sono per

In 2012 it was extremely rewarding to race in Turkey as the 1stfemale crew and to be BCS as well.  Our tiller Maria Egner, from Windsor Canada, was the first woman tiller in Turkey!!! They put a male steersperson in the back of the boat and a male interpreter just in case she ran into trouble.   For the crew, it just meant we carried two extra people who were not paddling.  The comments were sure flying but it did not matter because we did not understand.  We just smiled and agreed and carried on. However by the 3rd race they let Maria steer with by herself. 

We can empathize with foreign teams who attend BCS festivals in English speaking countries.  We almost missed several races because we did not speak Turkish.

The insight of Tanya and Hakan, festival organizers in Turkey was amazing. The support they gave us was incredible.  They supplied 1,000 carnations for the ceremony.   Other teams’ crew members were instrumental in helping us sell some of them to raise money for breast cancer in Turkey.    The crowds and teams cheered us on!   

One of the festivals organizers, Hakan, was able to do some educational Breast cancer TV segments with the support of medical professionals. 

A spectator in the crowd saw the BCS carnation ceremony and was so touched he helped start the first BCS team in Istanbul. The city of Istanbul and the university have given support to the newly formed breast cancer team. The team in Istanbul was called Pink Lotus.   In one short year they had started two teams.  The second team in is Ankara the capital city.  The team's name was “Young Amazons.”    We were presented with the best community message trophy in Turkey and given medals to add to our hardware.  It is very hard to describe the kindness and support we have received around the world.      

International Pink Sisters has truly become an international team where women from different countries paddle together.  In May 2013 the crew raced in Florence and Venice and members were from: Ireland, South Africa, New Zealand, USA and Canada. It is amazing to see all these different women work together to get the crews to different countries to raise breast cancer awareness race and have fun!!  

The crew raced in Puerto Rico to raise breast cancer awareness Feb 2014 along with the crew SOS from Florida.  Pink Sisters requested the festival organizers arrange a Carnation ceremony.  Community people lined the path way to the boats waving carnations.  Women thanked us for showing them life is good after breast cancer. The mayor of Ponce got in the dragon boat for the carnation ceremony for their first breast cancer carnation ceremony.   The festival organizers were amazing with the support they had from the medical community and a donor for all the carnations. The saying at the airport is so true “One arrives in Puerto Rico as a guest and leaves as a friend”. In 2016 Puerto Rico did adopt the Breast cancer carnation ceremony into their festival.  The mayor gave recognition to International Pink Sisters for supporting them to help promote breast cancer awareness for the women in Puerto Rico.

In 2017 it was so exciting for the crew to support the small festival in San Pedro de Pinatar in Spain.  Spain has two BCS crews. One is very small young northern crew. It was amazing to support, encourage and offer hope to their young crew members.

International Pink Sisters is heading off to Limassol Cyprus to raise breast cancer awareness. The mission and  hope for 2018  is to support women in Cyprus so they will start their own BCS team.  The team is comprised of women from USA, Canada, Germany and Austria.  So far the organizers in Cyprus have been able to recruit 6 brave women in Cyprus to join us.  We are truly grateful to the festival organizers who have agreed to add a BCS division to their festival.  It will be exciting to be their to celebrate their 10th festival anniversary with the promotion of breast cancer awareness.  

 

 

This website is created and hosted by Website.com's Site Builder.