Eastwood Village resident helps Queen celebrate Diamond Jubilee

News Jun 20, 2012 by Joanna Lavoie East York Mirror

Eastwood Village resident Eleanor Nielsen's recent trip to the United Kingdom is one she won't soon forget.

Nielsen, who has lived near Eastwood Road between Coxwell and Woodbine avenues for 20 years, took part in the Queen's Diamond Jubilee flotilla on the Thames River in London Sunday, June 3.

She was a crew member in one of about 200 human-powered vessels in the 11- to 14-kilometre long pageant.

"It was absolutely wonderful. It really was. There were thousands of people cheering us on all the way. That was really special," said Nielsen, adding she has a great admiration for Queen Elizabeth for her hard work and dedication to public service, especially after seeing it first-hand.

Nielsen, who saw The Queen and the royal family on their barge, travelled to the U.K. from May 29 to June 6 with her husband Charles Dixon, who took in the flotilla from the vantage point of a tour boat on The Thames.

"He saw me as I was paddling by. He was cheering and jumping around," Nielsen said during a recent interview.

"It really was a once-in-a-lifetime experience."

She was part of a 16-member team of dragon boaters called Internationally Abreast. All of the team's members had battled and beat breast cancer.

"It was a really wonderful group," said Nielsen, who successfully fought breast cancer more than 22 years ago.

The team's steersperson was renowned, B.C.-based sports medicine physician Dr. Don McKenzie who, in 1996, created the first dragon boat team in Canada made up of breast cancer survivors.

"He's a hero for teams around the world," said Nielsen, one of five Canadians on her dragon boat in the flotilla.

"Being part of a group like that was really terrific."

Of the 14 dragon boat teams in the 1,000-vessel flotilla, four were made up of breast cancer survivors. They included two for the United Kingdom, one for Canada and one international team.

About 15 years ago, Nielsen co-founded Toronto Dragon's Abreast, a dragon boat team whose members have all been diagnosed with and treated for breast cancer.

At that time, she worked for Canadian Cancer Society and had met members of a dragon boating team from B.C. called A Breast in the Boat.

Nielsen liked the concept and decided to set up a Toronto team in 1997.

To this day, she still paddles with Dragon's Abreast and helps as an organizer with the executive team.

There are currently 50 to 60 dragon boat teams made up of breast cancer survivors in Canada and an estimated 120 worldwide.

Nielsen, who has travelled to China and Australia to participate in dragon boat competitions, started off not knowing a whole lot about the sport she now loves.

"Very few of us knew what dragon boating was before we did it," said Nielsen, who currently sits on the advisory group for the International Breast Cancer Paddlers Commission (IBCPC), an umbrella organization with members from Australia, Canada, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States.

Last fall, the IBCPC applied to participate in the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Flotilla. On Dec. 31, the organization learned it had been accepted.

"What great news to start the new year. It was really an honour and a privilege to be accepted," said Nielsen, who, as an advisory group member, was one of the first members offered the chance to take part. She jumped at the chance.

During her trip to the U.K., Nielsen also had the opportunity to visit Canada House, part of the High Commission of Canada in London, on two occasions.

The first time was the Saturday, June 2; she and her husband attended a meeting in support of the British Breast Cancer Association.

The second time was on Monday, June 4 for a party and beacon lighting event for flotilla participants and team supporters.

"We watched the (Diamond Jubilee) concert on huge TV screens and there was live entertainment. We had a super evening at Canada House," Nielsen said.

Eastwood Village resident helps Queen celebrate Diamond Jubilee

Eleanor Nielson part of team of dragon boaters called Internationally Abreast

News Jun 20, 2012 by Joanna Lavoie East York Mirror

Eastwood Village resident Eleanor Nielsen's recent trip to the United Kingdom is one she won't soon forget.

Nielsen, who has lived near Eastwood Road between Coxwell and Woodbine avenues for 20 years, took part in the Queen's Diamond Jubilee flotilla on the Thames River in London Sunday, June 3.

She was a crew member in one of about 200 human-powered vessels in the 11- to 14-kilometre long pageant.

"It was absolutely wonderful. It really was. There were thousands of people cheering us on all the way. That was really special," said Nielsen, adding she has a great admiration for Queen Elizabeth for her hard work and dedication to public service, especially after seeing it first-hand.

Related Content

Nielsen, who saw The Queen and the royal family on their barge, travelled to the U.K. from May 29 to June 6 with her husband Charles Dixon, who took in the flotilla from the vantage point of a tour boat on The Thames.

"He saw me as I was paddling by. He was cheering and jumping around," Nielsen said during a recent interview.

"It really was a once-in-a-lifetime experience."

She was part of a 16-member team of dragon boaters called Internationally Abreast. All of the team's members had battled and beat breast cancer.

"It was a really wonderful group," said Nielsen, who successfully fought breast cancer more than 22 years ago.

The team's steersperson was renowned, B.C.-based sports medicine physician Dr. Don McKenzie who, in 1996, created the first dragon boat team in Canada made up of breast cancer survivors.

"He's a hero for teams around the world," said Nielsen, one of five Canadians on her dragon boat in the flotilla.

"Being part of a group like that was really terrific."

Of the 14 dragon boat teams in the 1,000-vessel flotilla, four were made up of breast cancer survivors. They included two for the United Kingdom, one for Canada and one international team.

About 15 years ago, Nielsen co-founded Toronto Dragon's Abreast, a dragon boat team whose members have all been diagnosed with and treated for breast cancer.

At that time, she worked for Canadian Cancer Society and had met members of a dragon boating team from B.C. called A Breast in the Boat.

Nielsen liked the concept and decided to set up a Toronto team in 1997.

To this day, she still paddles with Dragon's Abreast and helps as an organizer with the executive team.

There are currently 50 to 60 dragon boat teams made up of breast cancer survivors in Canada and an estimated 120 worldwide.

Nielsen, who has travelled to China and Australia to participate in dragon boat competitions, started off not knowing a whole lot about the sport she now loves.

"Very few of us knew what dragon boating was before we did it," said Nielsen, who currently sits on the advisory group for the International Breast Cancer Paddlers Commission (IBCPC), an umbrella organization with members from Australia, Canada, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States.

Last fall, the IBCPC applied to participate in the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Flotilla. On Dec. 31, the organization learned it had been accepted.

"What great news to start the new year. It was really an honour and a privilege to be accepted," said Nielsen, who, as an advisory group member, was one of the first members offered the chance to take part. She jumped at the chance.

During her trip to the U.K., Nielsen also had the opportunity to visit Canada House, part of the High Commission of Canada in London, on two occasions.

The first time was the Saturday, June 2; she and her husband attended a meeting in support of the British Breast Cancer Association.

The second time was on Monday, June 4 for a party and beacon lighting event for flotilla participants and team supporters.

"We watched the (Diamond Jubilee) concert on huge TV screens and there was live entertainment. We had a super evening at Canada House," Nielsen said.

Eastwood Village resident helps Queen celebrate Diamond Jubilee

Eleanor Nielson part of team of dragon boaters called Internationally Abreast

News Jun 20, 2012 by Joanna Lavoie East York Mirror

Eastwood Village resident Eleanor Nielsen's recent trip to the United Kingdom is one she won't soon forget.

Nielsen, who has lived near Eastwood Road between Coxwell and Woodbine avenues for 20 years, took part in the Queen's Diamond Jubilee flotilla on the Thames River in London Sunday, June 3.

She was a crew member in one of about 200 human-powered vessels in the 11- to 14-kilometre long pageant.

"It was absolutely wonderful. It really was. There were thousands of people cheering us on all the way. That was really special," said Nielsen, adding she has a great admiration for Queen Elizabeth for her hard work and dedication to public service, especially after seeing it first-hand.

Related Content

Nielsen, who saw The Queen and the royal family on their barge, travelled to the U.K. from May 29 to June 6 with her husband Charles Dixon, who took in the flotilla from the vantage point of a tour boat on The Thames.

"He saw me as I was paddling by. He was cheering and jumping around," Nielsen said during a recent interview.

"It really was a once-in-a-lifetime experience."

She was part of a 16-member team of dragon boaters called Internationally Abreast. All of the team's members had battled and beat breast cancer.

"It was a really wonderful group," said Nielsen, who successfully fought breast cancer more than 22 years ago.

The team's steersperson was renowned, B.C.-based sports medicine physician Dr. Don McKenzie who, in 1996, created the first dragon boat team in Canada made up of breast cancer survivors.

"He's a hero for teams around the world," said Nielsen, one of five Canadians on her dragon boat in the flotilla.

"Being part of a group like that was really terrific."

Of the 14 dragon boat teams in the 1,000-vessel flotilla, four were made up of breast cancer survivors. They included two for the United Kingdom, one for Canada and one international team.

About 15 years ago, Nielsen co-founded Toronto Dragon's Abreast, a dragon boat team whose members have all been diagnosed with and treated for breast cancer.

At that time, she worked for Canadian Cancer Society and had met members of a dragon boating team from B.C. called A Breast in the Boat.

Nielsen liked the concept and decided to set up a Toronto team in 1997.

To this day, she still paddles with Dragon's Abreast and helps as an organizer with the executive team.

There are currently 50 to 60 dragon boat teams made up of breast cancer survivors in Canada and an estimated 120 worldwide.

Nielsen, who has travelled to China and Australia to participate in dragon boat competitions, started off not knowing a whole lot about the sport she now loves.

"Very few of us knew what dragon boating was before we did it," said Nielsen, who currently sits on the advisory group for the International Breast Cancer Paddlers Commission (IBCPC), an umbrella organization with members from Australia, Canada, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States.

Last fall, the IBCPC applied to participate in the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Flotilla. On Dec. 31, the organization learned it had been accepted.

"What great news to start the new year. It was really an honour and a privilege to be accepted," said Nielsen, who, as an advisory group member, was one of the first members offered the chance to take part. She jumped at the chance.

During her trip to the U.K., Nielsen also had the opportunity to visit Canada House, part of the High Commission of Canada in London, on two occasions.

The first time was the Saturday, June 2; she and her husband attended a meeting in support of the British Breast Cancer Association.

The second time was on Monday, June 4 for a party and beacon lighting event for flotilla participants and team supporters.

"We watched the (Diamond Jubilee) concert on huge TV screens and there was live entertainment. We had a super evening at Canada House," Nielsen said.