Mar 19, 2024 | Warrior Testimonials | 0 comments

I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in April 1993 and underwent a mastectomy followed by chemotherapy.

In 1999 my life changed for the better. Four hardworking and dedicated volunteers started a dragonboat racing team for Breast Cancer Survivors in North Bay. Our first season on the water was the year 2000, when we had a chance to participate in dragonboat festivals in Toronto, Stratford and Ottawa. In the year 2000 there were 22 teams across Canada and in the year 2007 there are 53. In Ontario alone there are 18 teams.

In August 2002 I took part in “Paddle to a Cure,” a week-long kayaking trip on Georgian Bay to raise funds and awareness for Breast Cancer.

In March 2003 I joined a National Team called Canadians Abreast and with this team which included breast cancer survivors from across Canada, we competed in the Inaugural South Pacific Breast Cancer Regatta in New Zealand.

In September 2003 I participated in Outward Bound, “Quest for Life”. Outward Bound is about ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Physical challenge is one of the many tools used to help explore your personal potential. The only prerequisite was to be a cancer survivor. It was a true test of our spirit. A week in the mountains north of Calgary, camping on the ground, climb a mountain peak, a solo for one night with only your sleeping bag and a tarp, and rappelling down a mountain. I finished the week exhausted, unwashed and exhilarated, truly a “Quest for Life”.

In April 2004 I traveled with 43 breast cancer survivors to Capetown, South Africa to bring our message of hope and awareness to women there. (They have since started their own dragonboat team)

In July 2005 I traveled to Berlin Germany to paddle on the Spree River, with a 2-week trip after our paddling to visit the beautiful countries of Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

In 2006 I traveled to Singapore and paddled in the harbour there against teams from England, Italy, USA, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada ( 5 teams) and of course Singapore.

Remembering back to the day I heard the words, “you have breast cancer,” I realize they changed my life. I have seen and experienced so much, meeting wonderful people from around the world, and have learned to “seize the day”, experiencing life to the fullest. Because of four hardworking individuals and a generous donation from Scotiabank, participating in dragon boating and showing the world there is life after breast cancer has become my life. Thank you Scotiabank!!

Bonnie Marshall