Our Team


Mabel Sansom (Chair)

Mabel moved to Australia from Canada in 2000. Whilst not a breast cancer survivor, Mabel has participated in the Canberra Regatta with Women in Super a few years ago – her introduction to Dragons Abreast.

While in Canada Mabel co-founded Women in Insurance Cancer Crusade (www.wicc.ca) which has raised, since it's inception in 1996, over $11 million for breast cancer related causes. Women in Insurance Cancer Crusade is now a national charity in Canada and supported by members of the general insurance industry. Previously Mabel was CEO of the Insurance Brokers Association of Canada and recently retired as Education Manager from Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation.

She is passionate about supporting breast cancer charities and has been a member of the organizing committee of Mother’s Day Classic in Canberra for nine years.  Mabel joined the Dragons Abreast Board early 2015 and brings a wealth of experience from her previous roles with her.

Mabel commenced in the role of Chair of the DAA Board in January 2017.

Anne Stowe

Anne was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2003 and Joined DA Ballarat in 2007 as a positive way of looking forward. Anne says that being involved has literally opened up the world, having jumped at quite a few amazing local and overseas paddling opportunities and has met some truly incredible women.  Anne feels strongly that Dragons Abreast has something to offer survivors and their supporters from all walks of life, and in all stages of their journey.  Anne has been a Board member since 2011.

Jo Parry

Jo was introduced to Dragons Abreast Australia (DAA) by some friends she had met following her diagnosis, and she has been a member since 2003. At that time, a highlight for Jo was the Australian Master Games in Canberra also the fifth anniversary of DAA, which was celebrated there. It was at the Games that Jo first met the founder of DAA (Michelle Hanton) and also had the opportunity to listen to Dr. Don McKenzie.

Jo has performed a number of voluntary roles within DAA over the years, including helping to organize a number of pink regattas. Most notably, Jo was on the organizing committee for Abreast in Australia 2007, where approximately two thousand breast cancer survivor paddlers from around the world joined together to paddle on Lake Kawana in Queensland.

Jo was the Vice President for IBCPC since 2010 and stepped down earlier in 2014. She is very happy to continue her association with the IBCPC in an Advisory capacity and continues to support the IBCPC Steering Committee.

Jo was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1999 at the age of thirty-seven. After ten years involved with DAA, Jo says, "I still love what DAA represents. It is important to me that we continue to provide a means for women to transition into full and active lives following their breast cancer diagnosis. I have been witness to some amazing changes in the women I have met both physically and emotionally."

From a professional perspective, Jo works full-time within the health IT industry. She is supported by her partner, Adrianna Murray.

Christy Collier

Christy Collier is a member of Dragons Abreast Sydney, joining in July 2013. Christy was diagnosed with breast cancer in July 2012, and has since undergone chemotherapy, radiation and a double mastectomy and reconstruction. She resides in Sydney (although is originally from Queanbeyan). 

Christy’s professional background is in Event Management, Marketing and Communications. Her current role is as the Events Manager with Golf NSW, responsible for all Championships and Major Events. She has had similar rolls in a number of organisations, including Les Mills Asia Pacific and The Australian of the Year Awards. 

Christy studied a Bachelor of Sports Management at the University of Canberra, and has since undertaken a Graduate Certificate in Marketing Communication, also at the University of Canberra. She is currently undertaking a Masters of Business (Sports Management) at Deakin University. 

Christy has a passion for sport and fitness – participating in Dragon Boating, Basketball and Netball, and is a regular gym goer. 

There were multiple motives for Christy wanting to become a member of the Dragons Abreast Australia Board.  “I wanted to join DAA for a few reasons – firstly, I’ve been nothing but impressed with the organisation and what it does for breast cancer, secondly I wanted to give something back to the breast cancer community that has been so supportive of me over the last 18-months, and lastly I felt I had something to offer skills wise”. 

Christy’s professional and academic experience, together with her enthusiasm and drive will no doubt make her an effective contributor as a Director of Dragons Abreast Australia.

Marion Blake

Marion became a DAA Board Director in February 2013 and has enjoyed working on a national level to ensure our organisation survives and thrives across the nation.  

Joining DA Canberra in 2006 soon after finishing treatment, Marion discovered paddling with DAA was not only a great way to keep fit and have fun with a positive group of women, but also an opportunity for travel, to find a type of spirituality on the water and achieve personal fulfilment in the various roles undertaken on behalf of the club.  She is an accredited sweep, has project managed a number of corporate regattas and was Coordinator of DA Canberra for three and a half years.

Marion is now retired after a career in nursing, management of children's services programs and adult education.  She  lives on a cattle property and enjoys spending time with grandchildren, quilting and gardening as well as paddling.

Pearl Lee

Pearl Lee has worked in the film and television industry in Australia and Europe for over ten-years as an international product marketeer, before joining the not-for-profit industry in fundraising and business development.  Previous roles included working with families affected by traumatic injury and youth mental health research for charities such as Spinal Cord Injuries Australia, Australian National University, Soldier On and Kookburra Kids. 

In 2015, Pearl was just embarking on a pro-am cycling challenge in the Dolomites with Cadel Evans and Hamish Blake, her world was turned upside down with a diagnosis with breast cancer - but undeterred she completed her Italian project and knew that exercise would be an important part of her recovery journey.  First joining DA Canberra, Pearl now paddles with DA Sydney and looks forward to returning to Italy in 2018 and encouraging other survivors to get out on the water.

Imna Beaumont

Inma is a Fellow of the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants (UK).  She has over 25 years’ Experience as a Finance Professional with a strong track record in Audit, Risk, Financial Control, Strategy and Process Improvement within domestic and major multinational institutions in Banking, FMCG and Oil and Gas, both in the UK and in Australia. Most recently Inma has become a Fundraising Professional (Development and Philanthropy) with The University of Queensland. She has a passion for helping organisations in education and not for profit sectors enhance their reputation and pursue diversified funding.

A Board member of the UN Women National Committee Australia and a past member of the Redkite Queensland Regional Council and the Queensland Women in Finance Committee.

She holds Bachelor degrees in Mathematics and in Commerce/Economics from the University of Valencia in Spain.

Inma speaks English, Spanish, French and Italian.

Advisory Panel

Sue Bowen

Sue has been a member of DAA since early 2001 following diagnosis of breast cancer late 2000. Sue knew she wanted to become part of this unique organisation from the moment she read about Dragons Abreast in “The Beacon” newsletter while undergoing treatment.  She now paddles with Bribie Island and has enjoyed paddling in local, international events over the years.

Sue's early involvement with DAA was with the administration side of DAA in the early days of the organisation where she volunteered in the role of bookkeeper/finance officer and was instrumental in setting up and obtaining approval for DAA to operate as a Deductible Gift Registered and Income Tax Exempt charity.

Sue's professional background includes many years working in the government sector as Senior Auditor for the ATO, and investigator for Office of State Revenue.  Sue holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting and Finance).

Sue held the role of Chair of the Board from 2012 to 2016.

Rosalie Thomas

Rosalie was introduced to Dragons Abreast Australia after a conversation with a client who mentioned Dragons Abreast Australia during a business trip to Adelaide in 2006. She decided to investigate the Organisation upon her return and has been a member of Dragons Abreast Brisbane ever since.

Rosalie is currently a member of the Advisory Panel for Dragons Abreast Australia and enjoys working closely with the current Board.

She was Coordinator of Dragons Abreast Brisbane for 3 years, held positions on the Brisbane Committee most years since and worked as Co-organiser for the Queensland State Regatta in 2009 and later on the National Regatta in 2011. For her the National Regatta weekend stands out as a true representation of the spirit of Dragons Abreast Australia. Everyone coming together in a spirit of participation, joy, support and love.

Diagnosed in 2000 Rosalie believes that Dragons Abreast Australia provides the perfect platform for encouraging women to live full and active lives after a breast cancer diagnosis.

Rosalie worked as a National Sales Manager in solutions based Company.  She is married to Geoff who is a member of Brisbane’s Pink Connection and a strong supporter of DAA and considers himself truly “one of the girls”.

 Pat Hancock


A long term resident of Darwin at the time, Pat was introduced to Dragons Abreast soon after her diagnosis and treatment in 2001 and has been actively involved with the organisation since that time.   It has been a large part of her life over the years, an opportunity to meet and connect with like-minded people from all around Australia and the world, many of whom are now fast friends.

As well as being an active paddler she has used her professional background in policy, governance and public administration to contribute to the national body over time. She is currently a member of the Advisory Panel of DAA and a member of the IBCPC Steering Committee as Australian Liaison. Leaving full time work, and Darwin, in 2010 she returned to Brisbane after an absence of 35 years and now undertakes small consultancy projects, principally for not-for-profit, non-government and private organisations. She is a member of Dragons Abreast Brisbane.

Pat is also a member of the NBCF Research Advisory Committee and is involved with a number of research organisations in Australia and overseas.

George Ilk

With a partner who is a survivor that introduced him to DAA and dragon boat paddling in 2011, George Ilk has since then actively participated as a supporter with Pink Connections in Brisbane.

After commencing legal practice in Sydney in 1977 George subsequently held roles as a legal practice partner, an in-house general counsel in the corporate sector and as commercial and contracts manager with a global engineering and procurement firm.

During a career spanning 40 years in law and business George has also served as chief executive officer, company secretary and director of several unlisted public companies (including in the not for profit sector) as well as owning and managing private companies.

George has a bachelor’s degree in law (LL.B. 1977) and a master’s degree in law (LL.M. 2004) both from Sydney University Law School and is admitted as a legal practitioner of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, the Supreme Court of Queensland, the Federal Courts of Australia and the High Court of Australia. George is a member of the Queensland Law Society and the Association of Corporate Counsel Australia.

George enjoys spending time with his partner and being “too busy living” travelling, paddling, cycling or immersed in any outdoors activity.


Julie Walsh - Office & Communications Coordinator

Julie joined DAA in October 2015 in the role of Communication Coordinator on a part time basis.   Julie previously enjoyed a 31 year career in the electricity industry.  Some of the roles Julie held in that time were HR Business Improvement Consultant, Change Manager, Training Coordinator and HR Project Coordinator (just to name a few!).  The opportunity to use all of the skills gathered over the years to help DAA grow and support breast cancer survivors is very exciting to Julie. 

Julie's mother is a breast cancer survivor, and she has many friends that are also survivors. 

Julie's other passions are spending time with family and friends, traveling, traveling, traveling, jewellery making, photography and a bit more traveling!!

Ann Hubbard - Accounts & ID Coordinator

Ann joined DAA in January 2015 in the role of book keeper on a part time basis. Although not a breast cancer survivor, Ann lost her husband to cancer.
Ann has been retired for several years, after a long career in the IT industry. She was treasurer of Brisbane River Dragons, which is the sporting club home of DA Brisbane, for four years and at the time of retiring from that position, DAA were moving from Darwin to Brisbane and were looking for someone to do their books. Thankfully Ann took on the challenge.
Ann is a very competitive dragon boat paddler having competed in many Worlds and World Club Crew as well as local, state and national competitions. She is still training hard in the Auroras squad and competing around the world.
As well as paddling, Ann looks after her 2 grandchildren and likes to travel.

Angie O'Reilly - DAA Festival Project Manager

Angie was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002 and was first made aware of Dragons Abreast by her Breast Care Nurse, Lee Millard (a former DAA Board Member) and met the Founder of DAA, Michelle Hanton, at a BCNA Conference in Melbourne in 2004.

Angie was the founding Coordinator of Dragons Abreast Coffs Coast and past President of Coffs Coast Dragon Boat Club. Angie’s volunteer work for breast cancer and DAA is long and varied. Angie was a Facilitator for a breast cancer support group ‘The Young and the Breastless’ on the Coffs Coast for three years and has volunteered her time for DAA as the Regional Representative on the North Coast of NSW, National Representative, ID Manager, Fundraising Manager and acted as DAA’s Composite Crew Coordinator organising three DA composite crews, Inspiration, Hope and Spirit and their supporters to participate in the 4th International Breast Cancer Paddlers’ Commission (IBCPC) Festival in Sarasota, Florida in 2014.

In 2010 Angie was recognised by Quota International Coffs Harbour as a ‘Woman of Achievement’ for her outstanding service to DAA in supporting survivors through post breast cancer treatment. Angie is currently one of five National Representatives on the IBCPC looking after DAA Member Groups and Breast Cancer Dragon Boat Clubs Tasmania, South Australia and New South Wales.

Angie has paddled all across Australia, has completed the Ord River Marathon (a 55 kilometre dragon boat marathon in Western Australia) on two occasions and has participated in the last three IBCPC Festivals in Australia, Canada and the USA.

Angie is currently contracted to DAA as their Festival Project Manager for the 4th consecutive year and manages DAA’s largest annual fundraiser, a Dragon Boat Festival in October on Darling Harbour, Sydney.

Angie says ‘I will continue to promote DAA’s philosophy of Awareness, Participation and Inclusiveness. I have met and made life-long friends through my association with DAA, a unique organisation which, I firmly believe, has given me my life back. Long live DAA’.

Angie has a passion for photography and resides on the Northern Beaches in Sydney and has two grown up Sons, Tom and Bill who live in Brisbane and Newcastle respectively.





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Our Sponsors

Dragons Abreast is pleased to welcome Myck Design as our Creative Partner specialising in branding, logo and print design.  Myck is extremely proud to be the creative partner for Dragons Abreast Australia and their outstanding support network for breast cancer survivors.

Quality and affordable sporting apparel. Provider of our DAA jackets, with a percentage of proceeds being donated to Dragons Abreast.

Get in touch with Dragons Abreast Australia on 1300 889 566 or fill in our enquiry form