• “When you push off from the dock … we’re all in the same boat. 
    This isn’t about cancer anymore. It’s about exercise and health and the rest of your life. 
    When we push off we’re paddling away from breast cancer.” 

    - Dr. Don McKenzie, Founder, Abreast In A Boat 
  • “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain!” 

    - Vivian Greene 
  • “Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.” 

    - T.H. Thompson & John Watson 
  • “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. 
    The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.’ 

    - Nelson Mandela 
Behind the Cape Grace Hotel, Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, Cape Town
Mondays 17h30 for 18h00 and Saturdays 07h30 for 08h00
Solvej Strandvik

Our Angels

  • Jenny Michie passed away in 2006.
  • Nerine de Jongh passed away in 2009.
  • Juanita Jacobs passed away in 2010.
  • Solvej Strandvik passed away in 2011.


Jenny Michie

Jenny left us on 28th October 2006.
One of five inaugural survivors to attend our introductory paddle in April 2006, Jenny was in the middle of chemo sessions for a lesion on her sternum. Often she would arrive a little late for practices, running towards us as we waited in the boat and saying “Sorry I’m late, I’ve just been at chemo!”. This is a good illustration of the amazing lady she was.

Jenny at our inaugural paddle,
April 6th 2006

Sadly the cancer spread to her liver and she was too ill to join us when we went to the Singapore World Champs in September/October 2006. Whenever Jenny was feeling well enough, she would come to see us before a practice session and give us encouragement from the side. Jenny was a brave, gentle, integral member of the team. We all miss her. The team must comfort themselves with the knowledge that they enriched her life with their wonderful warmth and friendship and the fun and laughter we shared together.

A trophy in fond memory of Jenny is awarded annually to a Belle who shows commitment, dedication and enthusiasm to paddling.


Nerine de Jongh and Juanita Jacobs

Nerine de Jongh – 1 January 2009
Juanita Jacobs – 28 January 2010

Nerine and Juanita both joined the Belles in 2006. They lived in Paarl – a fair distance away from Cape Town and often travelled together to paddling sessions in the Waterfront. Participation in the 1st World Champs in Singapore during 2006 was a highlight for them as they paddled their hearts out with the team.

In Singapore – both in team gear….

Due to ill health, Juanita was not able to resume active paddling with us on our return to South Africa in October. She kept in touch and did get to paddle with her team again on a few occasions.

Following a reoccurrence, Nerine’s ongoing treatment prevented her from paddling with her team mates on a regular basis. Juanita supported her friend and team mate until Nerine passed away peacefully on New Year’s Day 2009.

Juanita courageously faced many battles along her journey and passed away a year after Nerine on 28 January 2010.

They were such good friends…

We will remember both these beautiful and courageous women for their sereneness, quiet enthusiasm and faithfulness.
We remain inspired by the way in which they both travelled their journeys – quietly confident, accepting and brave till the end….


Solvej Standvik

Fun-loving, friendly and driven, would be good words to describe Angel Solvej.

In loving memory…

Her sharp sense of humour and brilliant smile would light up the darkest of moods, but her encouraging nature is what I remember best.

Forever reminding the ladies in the boat to look at our reflection in the water and telling ourselves how beautiful we are.

As a helm, she would motivate the “boat” to move faster, dig harder and fight to the end.

She inspired her fellow paddlers with her “never give up” attitude to fight till we reached the finishing line.

In the role as drummer she really came to life, shouting words of encouragement until she had no voice left and on the brink of collapse.

She was a fun travel companion and made Prague a city of hilarious memories as we traveled with the team representing South Africa in the International Championships.

Even with the cancer spreading through her body, it did not stop her from enjoying Peterborough and Toronto and leading the Belles in song at the International Breast Cancer Championship.

Never wanting the limelight, but her inner shine often led her there.