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Life’s sweeter when you’ve cheated cancer

28 Aug 2012

Life’s sweeter when you’ve cheated cancer Image

Cheating death obviously gives you an enhanced appreciation of life, so cancer survivor Annie Horsley’s 80th birthday party in Docklands on August 26 was a very special occasion.

Most of the guests at Lamore Restaurant were fellow breast cancer survivors who have come together to celebrate the gift of life through their involvement with dragon boat racing.

Known as DAMBusters, the club is the Melbourne chapter of a worldwide phenomena known as Dragon’s Abreast.

Annie is one of the local club’s “tribal elders” and is obviously well loved by the rest of the tribe.

Club president Alison Sutton said Annie was as “funny as hell” and nothing was too much trouble when it came to the needs of others.

Alison said:  “The generosity in this room is amazing.”

Annie doesn’t paddle anymore, due to a recent relapse of the cancer which first struck in 2007.

She’s clear of cancer again and is determined to help in other ways and remain active within the club.

“This is such a fantastic organisation,” she said. “After my first cancer and treatment I contacted the club and they said come and try.”

“In 2010 our team travelled to Canada which was a wonderful experience for us all.  There were 2500 cancer survivors there from seven countries.”

“The years I have spent with these ladies at DAMBusters are some of the best years of my life,” she said.

And Annie has been around for a while.  Her heavily-pregnant mother walked across the Sydney Harbour Bridge when it opened just before she was born in 1932.

She grew up in Bondi and now lives in East Melbourne.

Docklands is the DAMBusters’ training ground and Lamore is the team’s watering hole.

“I feel so privileged to have met these wonderful ladies,” Annie said. “They are warm, caring, inspirational people of all ages and all walks of life.”

“Cancer is a great leveller and everyone is so very accepting of each other.”

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