History of Survivor Teams & Rowbust

In 1995, in Vancouver, BC, Dr. Don McKenzie, sports medicine physician and exercise physiologist, was researching the issue of rehabilitation following diagnosis and treatment of Breast Cancer. He realized that widespread restrictions on exercise in relation to Breast Cancer amounted to little more than a myth and concluded that, since everyone’s health depends, to some extent, on regular activity, Breast Cancer survivors are no different. Not only does regular exercise make us feel better, but it also stimulates the endorphins to lift our spirits and improve our mental outlook. Dr. McKenzie determined that the sport of dragon boating would be ideal for women or men recovering from Breast Cancer.

Dragon boating for Breast Cancer Survivors celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2015. The sport has grown from one team in 1995 to over 150 worldwide in 2015.

In the spring of 2000, Dr. Annette Richard appeared in a newspaper article discussing the benefits of exercise and Breast Cancer Survival. She encouraged Breast Cancer survivors to attend an information session and from that, Rowbust Dragon Boat Racing Team was born!

With incredible spirit, teamwork and perseverance, Rowbust is poised for success in each Dragon Boat Festival in which it participates while ever promoting increased awareness of Breast Cancer and celebrating the greatest gift on earth…. Life! Each survivor has faced their own “dragon” and has come away from the battle a much stronger and more enlightened person. This is not to say the journey is an easy one. The journeys may vary, but the outcome is the same, we take each moment and live it.

“Thank you, Dr. Annette Richard!”

We Are Rowbust!

Rowbust Dragon Boat Racing Team is not your average sports team.  Every member of this team is a breast cancer survivor!  We’ve all been faced with a life-threatening situation and have beaten the odds!  In essence, we have defeated our dragons and now we race them!

Through the mentorship of other breast cancer survivors, in London and area, Rowbust members are role models who are committed to educating and raising awareness in our community about the many positive benefits of physical activity after breast cancer in order to achieve the highest quality of life.

We train year-round to get stronger and faster on the water, but we also provide friendship and support for each other through our journeys of survivorship and, all too often, the journey back through cancer. Members we have lost become the angels who push us forward.  We provide hope and support for those who continue to fight cancer and others who unfortunately must face it for the first time.

Rowbusts core values are; Integrity, Respect, and Dedication to Excellence. These values are incorporated into every team decision we make and help to ensure a positive, meaningful experience for all members.

Rowbust competes in RegionalNational, and International dragon boat racing competitions. We are NINE TIME (2010 – 2018) National Champions as well as THREE-TIME Club Crew World Champions (CCWC) in the BCS division.

Prior to 2010, there was not a BCS division at the Canadian National level and it was Rowbust who were pioneers in getting the division recognized by Dragon Boat Canada.  Gaining National recognition meant we were eligible to compete at the CCWC who, in 2014, opened its doors to the BCS division for the first time!

In 2014, Rowbust traveled to Ravenna, Italy for the CCWC and paddled our way to win GOLD in three race distances of 200m, 500m, and 2000m! Returning to CCWC in Adelaide, Australia in 2016 and again in Szeged, Hungary in 2018 we have successfully defended our title to become three-time Club Crew WORLD Champions.

Rowbust also competes in the International Breast Cancer Paddler’s Commission Participatory Dragon Boat Festival held every four years. This event is like no other!  More than 100 BCS dragon boat teams from around the world come together and race against each other, for bragging rights, in the ultimate celebration of Survivorship & Sisterhood!

Rowbust is fully dedicated to our sport and therefore we are committed to a hectic training schedule to prepare for these competitions.

We are currently without a major financial sponsor so the team pulls together to organize some exciting fundraisers in an attempt to cover flights and accommodations for all travelers.

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Facebook—@rowbust       Twitter—@rowbustBCS       Instagram—@rowbustbcs