… TO THE MEMBERS OF THE BOSOM BUDDIES COURAGEOUS TEAM OF ANGELS
“Preserve your memories. They’re all that’s left you”
Even with her energy and health fading, Susan raced with her team in Vancouver and in Dartmouth. She had a great love of reading, music and dance, as well as, Bosom Buddies.
“Her first steps, though cautious, began immediately to reinforce her faith in greater possibilities.”
One of the original members of Bosom Buddies, Margaret had a beautiful smile and managed to paddle even while she was quite ill. She designed the team’s first brochure, Paddling for Life-Pulling Together.
“The world is a looking glass and gives back to every man the reflection of his own face. Frown at it, and it in turn will look sourly at you; laugh at it and with it, and it is a jolly, kind companion.”
An active paddler with the South Shore crew, Berndette also raced in Dartmouth and Toronto. The support, friendship and love shown to Berndette by Bosom Buddies was a wonderful part of her life.
“Be strong and courageous for you are not alone.”
Also an original member, Norma enjoyed her time practicing and racing with her buddies on Lake Banook. Her sense of fairness and social justice will be remembered by all those she knew.
“One of the greatest pleasures in life is doing what people say you cannot do.”
An original buddy, Jean was greatly encouraged when she discovered she had the strength to paddle in a dragonboat. She had been challenged by many health problems and couldn’t believe she could do it.
“Strength does not come from physical capacity..it comes from an indomitable will.”
A co-founder of Bosom Buddies, Margo soon discovered that the group had an energy all of it’s own. Margo began our “Circle of Strength” , initially in Vancouver, to help calm us down before our first race. This ritual continues still because it reminds us that together we draw strength from one another and together offer great strength to others.
“Coming together is a beginning
Keeping together is progress
Working together is a success.”
CAROL WOOD CROSSMAN
“I believe friends are quiet angels who lift our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly.”
Angela Vecchio-Ozmon once said “If I can inspire someone to change their life then I have accomplished my mission.” Angela expressed regret that she did not have the time and health to paddle longer with her buddies.
“The one thing you cannot bank is time.”
“Above all they are the bravest and the best.”
A devoted team player, Mabel drove from Antigonish three times a week to paddle with her team. Her coaching background, amazing strength and strong will made her a true competitor.
“As we go through life, we win some and we lose some, but the true meaning of a person is not how we handle our winnings, but how we cope with our losses.”
Eunice was a Bosom Buddy in the early paddling days. She lead the warm ups aways cheerful and energetic. Eunice’s mother, Muriel Smiley, also a breast cancer survivor of 37 years, currently leads her team of family and supporters “Smiley’s Connection” every year at the CIBC Run for the Cure.
“Ability is what you are capable of doing, Motivation determines what you do, Atitude determines how well you do it.”
When she joined Bosom Buddies, Susanna brought her paddling ability and contributed her skills in public relations, serving on the team executive. She loved being in nature….. paddling with her friends and found this calmed her spirit. She drew great power from the Circle of Strength.
“It is a fact, that in the right foundation, the lifting power of many wings can achieve twice the distance of any bird flying alone.”
“The friends who mean the most to us are those who instead of giving advice, solutions or cures have chosen to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm tender hand.”
“No matter what may be happening in our lives, there is always a closeness- sometimes with laughter, sometimes in silence, and this closeness somehow feeds your own strength.”
Linda Durling a.k.a. “Thumper” was an original buddy , the keeper of “Scorch” the dragon, and excellent drummer.
” Hi I like to paddle- it sure keeps me fit.
But I also like drumming- more than a bit.
My drumsticks are ready- they reach to the sun.
And come down real hard when we’re under the gun.”
Shirley AKA “Shirl the Pearl” was an athlete and a gem indeed. She brought to Bosom Buddies a sense of fun and celebration.
“We cannot change the direction of the wind…but we can adjust our sails.”
Andrea Harrold had wonderful memories of Bosom Buddies first race in Vancouver. She was proud to be a team member and an athlete. She was committed to the buddies and in her profession. Andrea felt blessed to have been born into such a loving family and lucky to have such great friends. We will always miss her practical manner and quick British humor. ” Andrea hopes that we all will continue to beat lane 11.”
” Then furl the sail, let fall the oar, forget the paths of foam!
The power that made me wonder far at last has brought me home
To thee, dear haven of my heart, and I no more will roam.”
Although not with Bosom Buddies for a long time when it came to learning how to paddle a dragon boat Mary was a “quick study.” She was focused, committed and helpful to others.
“I’ll never reach my destination, if I never try
So I will sail my vessel ’til the river runs dry.”
“Deep peace of the running waves. Deep peace of the flowing air. Deep peace of the quiet earth. Deep peace of the shining stars to you.”
Our buddy Rose Bechtel had a warm energetic personality and a great love of people. She was a wonderful B.B. contributing much time to listening ,providing comfort, and connecting us to additional resources for breast cancer survivors. She is missed by many.
“The days of wine and roses laugh and run away like a child at play
Through a meadowland toward a closing door
A door marked nevermore ,that wasn’t there before”
An original member of Bosom Buddies Kathe “get er done” LeJeune was passionate and creative. She was a wonderful mentor and friend to many. Memories of her courage ,faith, and sense of fun will always be with us.
“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.”
“Come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher.”
“Through all the tumult and the strife,
I hear the music ringing.
It sounds and echoes in my soul,
how can I keep from singing?”
Contributed by Lee MacDonald
Janet Lynn Hutt
Janet was not with us for a long time before she was diagnosed with a terminal recurrence, but that time was meaningful and brought with it another source of support that helped her to keep her spirits up and fight as long as she could. She was proud to be a Buddy.
“Friendship doubles our joy and divides our pain”
When she was diagnosed with a recurrence she fought back as a warrior would fight. Vicki used every bit of her strength, courage, hope and determination in her battle with cancer. Her illness never interfered with her concern for others.
“Hope sees the invisible, feels the intangible and achieves the impossible”
“A bird doesn’t sing because it has a message, it sings because it has a song”
“Nothing is so strong as gentleness and nothing is so gentle as real strength”
–Ralph W. Sockman
– Maya Angelou
For they are now a part of us as we remember them”
– Gates of Prayer
Mary Elizabeth Mader Smith
Mary came to the Buddies in 2005 and brought with her so many talents. She was then valiantly living with metastatic breast cancer. Mary loved being a buddy and participated in all aspects of the team. She was a competitive paddler and rarely missed a practice at Lake Banook. She travelled with her buddies to festivals all across Canada, and paddled with the team in the International Festival in Peterborough, Ontario in 2010. Mary served on various committees over the years and willingly dedicated countless hours to fundraising, team ops, PR, and any other team activities she could help with. She was our president in 2009. Mary was the poster girl for the definition “strong woman”. She leaves a legacy of courage, strength, hard work, charm, kindness and a warm caring attitude for those privileged to know her.
“There are no goodbyes for us. Wherever you are, you will always be in our hearts.”
– Mahatma Ghandi
Donna became a buddy in 2013. She was very physically fit and understood the value of fitness for all buddies, and especially those paddling competitively. When she led our workouts before practice or festivals she excelled in her workout leadership. Donna was part of the competitive crew that paddled in the IBCPC’s festival in Sarasota, FL in October 2014.
She served on the executive as membership chair. Donna spent a lot of time and energy as initial contact for potential new members, and was constant in her efforts to encourage and help breast cancer survivors join our team. She was a great advocate for new members making sure they were orientated and enjoying the support, exercise, fun and camaraderie the team offers. Donna left us suddenly and her energy, spunk, as well as her contributions to the growth of the team are missed.
“If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you”
– Fred DeVito
We met Verlene in April 2008 when she became a buddy. Verlene was happy, and had the most brilliant smile. Verlene’s family, faith, friends and music were the mainstays in her life. She had a beautiful voice and loved to sing. Music was such a big part of her life. She wrote a song, Bosom Buddies Paddling Song, for the team. Verlene lived with breast cancer since her diagnosis 25 years ago undergoing many forms of treatment but regardless of where she was in her treatment cycle she radiated hope. Despite her health situation, Verlene contributed to the team in so many ways. She paddled on a regular basis as long as she physically could, attended festivals across Canada with the team and an international festival in 2010 in Peterborough, Ontario. She also served on the executive as PR chair and team secretary. Verlene was also part of numerous committees over the years. Our fondest shared memory is the night in early September when her husband brought her to practice at the lake, a short time before she passed, and we all enjoyed being together one last time.
“You’re gonna miss me when I’m gone
Nobody will ever find me
But I will always be around
Just like the songs I leave behind me
I’m gonna live forever now”
From the song Live Forever by Billy Joe Shaver
In June 2021, our long time buddy and friend, Natalie Bourke moved past this life and began the second leg of her journey. Our team was formed in September 1998 and Natalie was on the water in the summer of 1999. Natalie started paddling on the south shore, where she lived at the time, with the crew there. Then an enthusiastic few paddlers from there, Natalie included, started to travel into the city weekly to paddle on Lake Banook. Their stop for coffee on the way back home introduced the team to our long time habit of meeting for coffee after paddling.
Natalie loved being an athlete and often joked about becoming an athlete later in life. Being a buddy and a strong paddler brought her much joy! And being an integral part of a team of strong women meant so much to her. Natalie paddled in Nova Scotia, nationally across Canada and internationally in festivals in New York and Asia. She went through many challenges in her life with her health but her determination to live well and enjoy life pushed her forward. Very few things kept Natalie from the lake on practice nights or from team meetings or from helping out however she could. Natalie served her team well in many capacities over the years. Her favourite was to help with team fundraising. She loved meeting people and encouraging people to help the team however they could. You will long be in our memories Natalie especially as we form our Circle of Strength that you loved so much.
“life isn’t waiting for the storm to pass..it’s about learning how to dance In the rain”
Sadly we lost one of our newer members in July 2021. Diane Nadeau was warmly welcomed to our team, but during her time with us our team activities were restricted because of Covid 19.
In the beginning she had concerns about getting in to the boat and paddling, but it wasn’t long before she felt comfortable in the boat and enjoyed being out on the lake. Diane took part in the team’s winter training to get ready for paddling season. She also took over the team’s Instagram account. Diane will always be remembered for her warm personality, beautiful smile, and love of music.
“The song is ended but the melody lingers on”