Jon Artano, a Spanish Journalist paddles with Abreast In A Boat
Bev Dagg, from the Abreast In A Boat FORT-itude crew, met Jon Artano last summer through mutual friends. Jon is from the Basque area of Spain and was planning to visit Canada for an extended period. Bev was extremely keen to meet him because she considers the Basque people to be an indigenous group in Spain. Bev is First Nations – Cree – from Saskatchewan. Jon is also very interested in indigenous people, and when he discovered Bev’s age (72), and that she was a breast cancer survivor, and dragon boat paddler, he became very intrigued about Abreast In A Boat. Jon contacted Bev this season and said he wanted to do a magazine article about us. The rest is history!
Jon was invited to join us at the Women’s Regatta in May, where he got to experience not only the beauty of False Creek, and magnificent sky scape, but also the breast cancer challenge race, and our very moving Flower Ceremony. We connected Jon with Adriana Bartoli, from the Deas Divas who speaks Spanish, and who is actively interested in promoting dragon boating in Latin America. (The Basque area has its own language but we understand it may be translated into French and Spanish as well. Thank you Adriana for offering to translate the article into English for us).
What a better way to give Jon a true feel of what we are all about than to invite him out to a practice to ride along in the coach boat, or to actually climb in a boat to experience paddling. Jon joined both the FORT-itude and Deas Divas crews at one of their practices and became “one of the crew” for an unexpected experience.
Visit to FORT-itude: by Cheryl Watson
Jon Artano, a broadcaster and journalist from the Basque area of Spain came to visit our crew at our Wednesday night practice. Along with a friend, Amanda, an amateur photographer, they joined us on the water. They were in the coach boat, as we were put through our rigorous paces. They had an opportunity to talk with some of the crew members in our warm up and cool down. What an awesome outreach opportunity for us. Just like our song says, “our message of hope is increasing, and we are proud of the difference we make”.
Visit to Deas: by Adriana Bartoli
Jon and a friend came onboard with the Deas Divas during a warm sunny evening in May. Jon not only talked and asked questions about our activity, but he warmed up and paddled as well. He was amazed over the amount of effort required to paddle and manoeuvre these magic dragon boats. He asked if the interview could continue on Sunday morning so he could a get a more in-depth perspective about the personal aspects of breast cancer, survivorship and paddling.
Thank you to Bev for the connection, and to all the AIAB members who made this outreach opportunity possible. We look forward to reading the article, and working with Jon in the future to promote dragon boat teams in Latin America.