First off, a big thank you to Barb Baker our Events Coordinator, and to Lenki Borthwick, and Sally VanIngen, our Social Coordinators, for all the hard work they put into making the Spring Fling such a success!  Thanks also to everyone who helped set up and clean-up, a challenging task considering the moulting pink boas!

Sally & Lenki

Sally & Lenki

The weather certainly didn’t make it feel like spring was just around the corner, but the spring flowers at VanDusen Gardens, and the sunny disposition of the women inside certainly did.

We were welcomed at the door by Eleanor Vandergaag, who handed out name tags and goody bags and instructed us to put our food contribution on the tables that were already “groaning” under the weight of so many amazing dishes.  There is one thing the ladies of AIAB know how to do and that is put on a great imaginative spread!   It was so well planned out, that we hardly had any leftovers.   The Sporty Jewellery and clothing table always seemed to have a crowd around it so shopping appears to be another thing we do well.

Juanita Peglar, our President opened the day by saying a few words and introducing our 2014 Board.

Our sponsors, donors, and supporters were thanked for their generosity.    It was acknowledged by Rena Pratt, our Sponsorship Chair that without them it would be difficult to stay the water.   To give back, we were asked to consider volunteering for some upcoming events put on by our Sponsors and Donors like the Scotiabank Half Marathon and The Run for the Cure.  Please watch for volunteer opportunities.

Juanita & Dr Don McKenzie

Juanita & Dr Don McKenzie

“Dr. Don”, who we affectionately call him, put on a very inspiring presentation and talked about the original study and its findings.   Although many of us know about our beginnings, it is always good to hear it again to reinforce why we paddle, and especially for our Novices to hear about how it all began.

Dr. McKenzie reminded us that when the boat leaves the dock it is about health, exercise and the rest of our life!  Dr. Don continues to throws a flower on the water at every Flower Ceremony that he attends to remember his own Mother who died of Breast Cancer when he was very young.  He stressed the importance of exercise in breast cancer survival and that you can reduce your recurrence rate 35% by exercising only twice a week.  

Dr Don McKenzie & Brenda

Dr Don McKenzie & Brenda

As  Vancouver is the “go-to-place” and the leader in breast cancer dragon boating we set the standard.  Let’s see what we can do spread the word, not only through North America but the World. 

Cathy Marr, our AIAB Captain for the Vancouver Run For The Cure, quoted from an inspiration book she was reading.  She read that the benefits of our sweat are worth more than that of a 20 year old man! So let’s encourage each other to work harder at getting into shape, or paddling stronger in the boat.  It really is good for us.  There will more news coming about how you can join the Vancouver  Run For The Cure AIAB Team, or form your own.

We also had a fun interactive dance exercise led by Cinzia, a certified fitness instructor.  Cinzia’s focus is on movement rehabilitation for cancer patients and survivors.  She calls it ” Movement For Life”.   The exercises are meant to open up the lymphatic system.

There were lots of door prizes and a fun” Meet and Greet” contest to keep things interesting.  One of the questions on the “Meet and Greet” form ~ “ If Dr. McKenzie had been a bowler and not a paddler what would the name of the Breast Cancer Survivor Bowling Team been?”  Here are some interesting answers:

–           Abreast With Spares

–          Abreast In A Gutter

–          Abreast On The Floor

–          Abreast With A Ball


It was a great day for the Novices to meet all the other crews and to see how powerful we are as a group.  As always, it is a very emotional time for the rest of us when the Novices are introduced.  It probably reminds us of our Novice year when were ready to” get our life back” and of how unsure we might have been  about joining a dragon boat team.    We are so glad you decided to join us ~ we are now all in this boat together!

Paddles Up and enjoy the season.