Abreast in a Boat is an organization of dragonboat teams in Metro Vancouver, including Fort Langley, with the goal of raising awareness about breast cancer and to demonstrate that those who have been diagnosed can lead full and active lives. (Special to the Langley Advance Times)

Abreast in a Boat is an organization of dragonboat teams in Metro Vancouver, including Fort Langley, with the goal of raising awareness about breast cancer and to demonstrate that those who have been diagnosed can lead full and active lives. (Special to the Langley Advance Times)

VIDEO: Fort Langley-based Abreast With FORTitude dragonboat team prepares to resume training

Team of breast cancer survivors is looking for new members

Lisa Webb is hoping this will be the summer the Fort Langley-based Abreast With FORTitude dragonboat team of cancer survivors will finally be able to resume training.

“I’m looking forward to getting back on the water,” Webb told the Langley Advance Times.

“To enjoy the fresh air in Bedford Channel” in Fort Langley, where the team practices.

Webb, a Langley City resident, has been a member of Abreast In A Boat since 2011.

She signed up after taking part in the “pink bus” campaign by the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation to raise awareness and encourage women to get screened.

“During that tour, I got to meet some of the ladies from Abreast in a Boat,” Webb recalled.

Dragon boating wasn’t something she had ever imagined trying, but when she did, she came to enjoy the camaraderie with her fellow paddlers.

“It was one of the best decisions I ever made,” Webb enthused.

“It’s been an amazing experience.”

READ ALSO: Langley’s Abreast with FORTitude paddling team celebrates survival at Relay

Maple Ridge resident Leila Ouimet, who joined in 2012, is hoping to attract new members now that there are signs the shutdown due to COVID may at last be nearing an end.

“The last two season, we cancelled,” Ouimet explained.

“We’re hoping we can get back out, with vaccinations [this summer].”

READ ALSO: Pink army recruiting in Fort Langley

Abreast in a Boat started as an experiment in 1996 by Dr. Don McKenzie, a sports medicine physician UBC.

McKenzie, a former competitive kayaker, wanted to test the notion that women who had undergone breast cancer surgery should not do rigorous upper-body exercise.

Abreast in a Boat is an organization of dragonboat teams in Metro Vancouver, including Fort Langley, with the goal of raising awareness about breast cancer and to demonstrate that those who have been diagnosed can lead full and active lives. (Special to the Langley Advance Times)

Abreast in a Boat is an organization of dragonboat teams in Metro Vancouver, including Fort Langley, with the goal of raising awareness about breast cancer and to demonstrate that those who have been diagnosed can lead full and active lives. (Special to the Langley Advance Times)

He trained 25 paddlers aged 31 to 60, for several months, expecting they would do no better than complete a 300-metre course in the heavy, 700-kg boat during a competition

They did a lot better than that, actually beating some of the other boats.

Since then, the organization has grown to include five boats based in Vancouver, including Fort Langley, and has inspired many other teams to form.

Anyone interested in being part of the Abreast With FORTitude team is invited to contact newmembers@abreastinaboat.com, check them out on Facebook, or visit their website abreastinaboat.com.


Is there more to the story? Email: dan.ferguson@langleyadvancetimes.com

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