The Pink Ribbon Army: Breast Cancer Dragon Boat Teams All Across the World

This is a tribute post to all the Breast Cancer Dragon Boat Teams which exist all over the globe. While these dragon boat teams have been the navigators of the added fun and respectful support system for all paddling breast cancer patients and survivors, these teams have surely fostered camaraderie, friendship, sisterhood and sportsmanship amongst their team members.

Dragon boat has indeed become very popular in the breast cancer landscape. For many, the sport has played a big role in their journey—from detection to treatment—to survivorship. In our earlier post, we mentioned that there have been studies that dragon boat is good for the well-being of the patients and survivors; but we also believe that the benefits also extend to the families and even the caregivers who have been supportive as well.

“These men and women of dragon boat are our pride and inspiration as they are the cancer survivors or cancer patients who paddle and even race with us. As they crusade for awareness or even early detection of the disease, they play the big role in advocating and motivating other survivors and patients to maintain a good quality of life by keeping fit, strong and happy.[…]” [8 Types of Dragon Boats You See At Races]

So, to all the individuals, groups or organisations who have formed and founded these Breast Cancer Dragon Boat Teams, we salute you for initiating and gathering this army of women and men. You have selflessly provided fun, hope, respect, support and care for these paddlers (patients and survivors) who may have, at some point, felt alone, hopeless or frustrated with the treatment.

To all the founders of these teams, you truly deserve the Pink Ribbon of Honour from all of us in the dragon boat community! Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Droles de Rames

Breast Cancer Dragon Boat Teams


Remeras Rosas La Plata


Adelaide Survivors Abreast Dragon Boat Club
Amazons Perth Dragon Boat Club
Brave Hearts on the Murray
Dragons Abreast Australia
Dragons Abreast Ballarat
Dragons Abreast Bendigo
Dragons Abreast Canberra
Dragons Abreast Geelong
Dragons Abreast Gold Coast
Dragons Abreast Groups
Dragons Abreast Melbourne/DAM Busters
Dragons Abreast Penrith
Dragons Abreast Sydney


Abreast In A Boat
Angels Abreast’s Dragon Boat Team
Barrie’s Ribbons of Hope Ontario
Breasts Ahoy
Busting With Energy
Chemo Savvy Dragon Boat Team
Chestmates Dragon Boat Team
Dragons Abreast Toronto
Dragon Flies
International Breast Cancer Paddlers Commission
Knot A Breast – Breast Cancer Dragon Boat Team
North Shore Dragon Busters
Paddling for Life Society
Rowbust Dragonboat Racing Team
Sistership Dragon Boat Association
Spirit Warriors Dragon Boat Team
Survivors Abreast Peterborough Dragon Boat Team
Survivorship Dragon Boat Team
Survivor Thrivers
The WonderBroads Dragon Boat Team
Warriors of Hope Breast Cancer Survivors Dragon Boat Racing Team
West Island Dragons


Dragon Ladies LoVe
Dragon Pink Ladies Angers
Drôles de Rames
Pink Dragon Ladies Vannes




Cork Dragons
Donegal Dragons
Graine Mhaol Dragon Boat Team
Plurabelle Paddlers
Suir Dragon Paddlers
Waterford Dragon Warriors


Astro Dragon Ladies
Dragonette Torino Dragon Boat Team
Florence Dragon Lady
Forzarosa Donna
Iscrizione Trifoglio Rosa
Karalis Pink Team
Pink Butterfly
Pink Lioness


The Doha Wireless Warriors

New Zealand

Boobops Dragon Boat Team
Busting with Life Dragon Boat Team
Cancer Society Wairarapa Dragon Boat Club
Cansurvive Dragon Boat Team
Simply the Breast Dragon Boat Team


BCF Paddlers in the Pink
Pink Spartans

South Africa

AmaBele Belles BCS Dragon Boat Team


Paddle for Cancer Dragonboat Festival

United Kingdom

Lagan Dragons
Paddlers for Life
Pink Champagne Breast Cancer Dragon Boat Team
PINK Dragon Network UK
Pool of Life
Port Edgar Dragons
Wave Walkers – Dragon Boat Team

United States of America

Against the Wind Breast Cancer Survivor Team
Breast of Friends
Derby City Dragons
Dragon Boat Atlanta, Inc, The only Breast Cancer Awareness team in Georgia
Dragon Boat Charleston’s Paddles and Pearls
Dragon Divas
Dragon Dream Team
Dragonheart Vermont
Empire Dragon Boat Team NYC
Go Pink DC
Healing Dragons of Charlotte
Hope in the Boat
Indy SurviveOars
Lake James Healing Dragons
Los Angeles Pink Dragons
Orlando Warriors on Water
Pink Paddlers
Pink Phoenix Dragon Boat Team
PINK PHURREE Breast Cancer Survivor Dragon Boat Team
Pink Steel Breast Cancer Survivor Team
Prairie Dragon Paddlers
Soaring Spirits BCS Dragon Boat Team
Survivors In Sync
Team SOS Miami
The Kentucky Thorough-Breasts
The Pink Dragon Ladies Dragon Boat Team
Warriors on Water
Wellness Warriors: Dragon Boat Team

Please share this list to those who may still be looking for a Breast Cancer Dragon Boat Team to join or support near their area. If your team is not listed above, kindly help us complete the worldwide listing by sending an email with your Team Name, Country and Link of Website/Facebook Page. Cheers!

Photo Credit: Drôles de Rames

Why should Dragon Boaters care about Breast Cancer?

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Why is dragon boat often identified with this cancer type? Why should we dragon boaters observe this awareness month and why must we end the apathy?

Knowing the Numbers

According to American Cancer Society, “There is an estimated 1,676,600 new breast cancer cases among women worldwide in 2012. Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women in both developed and developing countries.” [Cancer.org¹]

“Breast cancer is about 100 times less common among men than among women. For men, the lifetime risk of getting breast cancer is about 1 in 1,000. Breast cancer in men in the United States for 2015 are: About 2,350 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed; About 440 men will die from breast cancer.” [Cancer.org²]

World Health Organization reports: “Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for 8.2 million deaths in 2012. The most common causes of cancer death are cancers of: lung (1.59 million deaths); liver (745,000 deaths); stomach (723,000 deaths); colorectal (694,000 deaths); breast (521,000 deaths); oesophageal cancer (400,000 deaths).” [World Health Organization³]

Awaken the Dragon

Birth of Breast Cancer Paddling Movement

It started in 1996 when a Sports Medicine Physician, Dr Donald McKenzie, from the University of British Columbia in Canada discovered that by following a special exercise and training program, women could avoid lymphedema and enjoy active, full lives. The 3-month dragon boat training program was carefully monitored by a sports medicine physician, a physiotherapist and a nurse. Dr McKenzie’s theory was proven correct. No new cases of lymphedema occurred and none of the existing cases became worse. [IBCPC⁴]

It was in that year that Abreast In A Boat was established. Its membership grew and involved more and more breast cancer survivors; and then later on inspired new teams to be formed. Its journey lives on until this day with a mission: “We paddle to raise breast cancer awareness and to demonstrate that women living with breast cancer can lead full and active lives.”

Inclusivity and Participation

The International Breast Cancer Paddlers’ Commission or IBCPC holds a seat in the International Dragon Boat Federation (IDBF) Commission Chair under Protocol, Culture and Heritage Commission (PC&HC). IBCPC governs the BCS Participatory Festivals and the Combined Racers Division in the Club Crew World Championships (CCWC). This division is open for entry for Breast Cancer Survivors Crew (BCS), All Cancer Survivors Crew (ACS), and Paradragons/Adaptive Paddlers Crew (APC).

It is such a comfort and joy to know that these breast cancer survivors are enjoying the sport of dragon boat and while they promote fitness and health benefits of the sport, they also relay a beautiful message of hope for recovery to those who are currently fighting the disease and those who may have just been diagnosed. IBCPC now has over 150 member teams from all over the world with most teams from Canada, United States, Australia, New Zealand, Italy and the United Kingdom.

IBCPC Participatory Dragon Boat Festival

The International Breast Cancer Paddlers’ Commission Participatory Dragon Boat Festival or IBCPC PDBF is being held every three or four years. The first race took place in Vancouver, Canada (2005). The succeeding venues were: Caloundra, Australia (2007), Peterborough, Canada (2010), and Sarasota, Florida, United States (2014). The next event will be held in Florence, Italy. It is scheduled to happen between June and September in 2018.

Awaken the Dragon Sunset

Remembering and Honouring

In our quest to help campaign on the awareness of the disease, we’d also like to embolden everyone, survivors and supporters, to join or support any breast cancer dragon boat team in your area. Let us help one another in promulgating awareness, early detection, prevention as well as the treatment of breast cancer.

This October, as we go to our team practices or for competitions, let us remember our dearest friends, family members and teammates who’ve lost their battle against the disease. It would be good to have a brief moment of silence in the boat and rekindle those days when they were still paddling with us.

To all dragon boaters, please have yourselves checked and encourage everyone to do the same. Yes, this disease is more common to women, yet men can develop breast cancer, too. We are in this battle together.

Are you ready.. Attention! GO GET SCREENED!


¹ “10 Must-Know 2015 Global Cancer Facts.” American Cancer Society. American Cancer Society, Inc., 4th February 2015. Web. 28th September 2015.
² “Cancer.” Media Centre. World Health Organization, February 2015. Web. 28th September 2015.
³ “Breast Cancer in Men” Learn About Cancer. American Cancer Society. American Cancer Society, Inc., 26th February 2015. Web. 30 September 2015.
⁴ “History of BCS Dragon Boat Paddling” The Origins of Breast Cancer Paddling. International Breast Cancer Paddlers’ Commission, 2008. Web. 28 September 2015.

*Photos used with permission from Liz Oakley, Filmmaker of the Award-winning Documentary, “Awaken the Dragon.” Are you a survivor or do you love someone who is? Share your story of survivorship or of dragon boating HERE.