Who We Are
In the short of things, Barrie's Ribbons of Hope is a dragon boat team comprised of Breast Cancer Survivors based in Barrie, Ontario.
But it all started in 2003, when our founding member, Sue Mccallum, read a newspaper article about a team of women - all breast cancers survivors - competing in a Vancouver dragon boat festival. With Sue's interest piqued she decided to create her own dragon boat team comprised of breast cancer survivors, the first in Barrie. For the first year her goal was simple; she wanted to get 20 women in a boat to paddle Kempenfelt Bay. She received a tremendous response and throughout the years the team has only continued to grow. The strength of this team lives within its membership, a group of 40 women ranging in age from 34 – 80 years-old. These strong individuals are committed to helping themselves remain strong and healthy, as well as give the community a sense of hope.
Our team’s continual growth and development triggered the need for more organization and in 2005 "Barrie's Ribbons of Hope" became a registered charity. This helped facilitate fundraising for the team, and ensured their role as a more visible and active member within the community. In 2007 Barrie's Ribbons of Hope received an Ontario Trillium Foundation capital grant to purchase our own dragon boat, which is utilized for practices throughout the season by other local community groups and is managed by the Barrie Public Library. We've come a long way since the days of practicing in a boardroom at the library in two lines of 10 chairs using broomsticks as paddles; but how else were we going to learn paddling techniques! Having celebrated our 10th anniversary in 2012, our team also celebrated a total of over $130,000 being raised in those years for the Simcoe Muskoka Regional Cancer Centre at Royal Victoria Hospital.
The mission of Barrie's Ribbons of Hope is to raise awareness of life after breast cancer and to demonstrate that those who experience breast cancer can lead full and active lives. And active we are! We continue to achieve our goal of participating in at least four races every season. Whether we are competing locally, provincially, nationally or internationally, Barrie's Ribbons of Hope’s true goal is to celebrate and embrace life and have FUN in the process.
April 10th, 2017
The Ribbons are currently Fundraising to help out with expenses for paddlers when we travel to Italy in 2018 to paddle in the International Breast Cancer Participatory Dragon Boat Festival.