Deas Divas members in Italy for dragon boat festival

Members of the local Deas Divas dragon boat team are in Florence, Italy to take part the IBCPC Dragon Boat Festival this weekend.

They will be taking part in the regatta as part of composite team made up of members from the Lower Mainland-centered organization Abreast In A Boat’s six crews. Members are all women who have had a breast cancer diagnosis.

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“The support and comradery among teammates is very special,” says Dr. Jean Buckley, a member of the local team.

The International Breast Cancer Paddlers Commission puts on a breast cancer survivors participatory festival every four years. Nearly 130 teams from 17 countries will be taking part in this weekend’s event in Florence.

Buckley notes this is the third world event with the first taking place in Peterborough in 2010 and the second in Florida. She says Abreast In A Boat has sent a team to every world gathering so far and will continue to do so in the future.

Buckley says their team is a mix of “veterans” and “newer members who have not had this amazing experience.”

Abreast In A Boat has nearly 200 members.

“We are a living symbol of hope and a vivid demonstration that there is life after diagnosis. Through the strenuous demands of dragon boat paddling we have learned that we can push the limits of our physical endurance and have fun doing it,” the group’s website states.

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