In 1996, Dr. McKenzie launched Abreast in a Boat, Vancouver’s first breast cancer dragon boat team as a means of studying the effects of repetitive upper body exercise or paddling and the development of lymphedema – a painful swelling of the arm that can be experienced by breast cancer patients/survivors.  Lymphedema most often occurs in patient’s who have undergone a mastectomy and an axiliary lymph node dissection. Lymphedema is a condition that is irreversible.  Dr. Mckenzie’s study demonstrated that within a group of female breast cancer patients/survivors who followed a special exercise and training program, no new cases of lymphedema were reported and none of the existing cases got any worse.

As a result of his study the dragon boat population, especially the breast cancer survivors and their loves ones, embraced Dr. McKenzie.   This was demonstrated by the overwhelming participation in the third International Breast Cancer Dragon Boat Festival in Peterbourgh in June 2010 (75 teams from 7 countries). Breast cancer dragon boat paddling has now become one of the fastest growing sports worldwide.  In fact, in early 2008, a colleague of Dr. McKenzie, Dr. Sabiston from the University of McGill’s Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education, stated “The best long term therapy for breast cancer survivors may have nothing to do with doctors or self-help books.  Dragon boat racing may provide the best therapy”.

Dr. McKenzie is a very humble, dedicated researcher who continues to have a profound influence on breast cancer patients/survivors globally.  As a male breast cancer survivor and as a dragon boat paddler, I have been graciously embraced by the thousands of female breast cancer dragon boat paddlers from all over the World.  Our lives have all been enriched dramatically since the original launch of Abreast in a Boat by Dr. McKenzie.  Dr. McKenzie is solely responsible for creating that very, very special bond that exists between breast cancer dragon boat paddlers worldwide.  It truly is a BOND THAT TRANSCENDS ALL OTHERS.  We are forever thankful for all of his hard work.


Be Positive, Be Well
Herb Wagner – A Man’s Pink

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