Anyone who has had a diagnosis of breast cancer and is preferably 3 months post treatment (e.g. surgery, chemotherapy & radiation…Tamoxifen is fine). This includes women & men with any type of breast cancer. Paddlers must be over 18 to participate.
We train for eight months (February – September).
Our training year is split into two phases:
Phase 1: 3 days/week in the gym
Phase 2: 3 days/week on the river
The gym is the Central Lions Recreation Centre
We train on the North Saskatchewan River. The dock is on the west side of the river, just north of Dawson Bridge.
No! We all come in at different levels of physical fitness – from persons who haven’t worked out in 10 years to persons who work out six days a week. We promise that no matter where you are starting you will improve your fitness level.
No. You don’t have to know how to swim to paddle. Our goal is to not end up in the water but if we do you will be wearing a PFD.
The cost of a Breast Friends Society membership is $25.00 and there is a training fee of $75.00, for a total of $100. This cost includes training (with awesome trainers & coaches), the Edmonton Dragon Boat Festival, a Breast Friends sponsor t-shirt and the use of a PFD and paddle. Additional costs may include personal gear such as gloves, water shoes, butt pad and out-of-town festivals.
Breast Friends sends crews to festivals having breast cancer survivor races each summer, mostly in Western Canada (e.g. Lethbridge, Calgary, Nanaimo, Penticton, etc.) The number and location varies, but seems to average around 4 festivals per season. Team members have the opportunity to sign up for as many festivals as they'd like, or as few as one festival per year. All team members are encouraged to participate in local dragon boat festivals.
Every four years we attend the International Breast Cancer Paddling Commission participatory festival.
We fundraise to help defray the costs of competing in festivals, however there are expenses that aren’t covered and must be paid by each participant. Out of province festivals are more expensive.
Although we don't have to attend every practice, each of us is expected to attend a minimum of 60% of all practices to move through the training phases (land & water). We want to do our best, as a team, so we put in the work. If you are willing to commit the time and effort the results will be fantastic!
We have many team members who have lymphodema. Studies have shown that paddling is beneficial for lymphodema and other health concerns. Team members are required to fill out a health questionnaire, before beginning to train.
Each year, Breast Friends accumulates a list of breast cancer survivors who have expressed an interest in becoming part of the team. If you are interested in receiving more information, please complete the form on the "Join Us" page. We will contact you with details of the registration process, which begins in the late fall and closes at the end of the following January.