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.
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.
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.
Pru was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1996 at the age of 40.
She joined the 1st breast cancer survivor dragon boat team in Victoria in their founding season 2001-2 and has been paddling ever since! She became the 2nd Team Co-ordinator, accepting the challenge from team founder, Pamela Williams.
The team was incorporated, developed a Charter and then evolved into DA Melbourne. Shortly afterwards, she also became the DAA State rep for Victoria for several years, supporting the growth & development of regional teams, Geelong, Peninsula, Ballarat and the Bravehearts. She remained on the DAM Committee, subsequently passing on the Co-ordinator & State rep role to others, and was honoured to be awarded Life membership in 2009. In July 2016, she accepted the role of Secretary, which also included co-ordinating the local hosting responsibilities for the 2017 DA Convention.
Over the years Pru has enjoyed paddling in DA teams/regattas/events in every State & Territory of Australia, including some Masters Games, and every International Breast Cancer survivor paddling regatta. In 2012 she enjoyed the honour of flag bearer for DA at the AUS DBF National Championships in Melbourne.
“I think dragon boating is a beneficial, fun and healing activity for breast cancer survivors to participate in, and aim to ensure that any potential breast cancer survivors are welcome to participate, no matter their age, weight, shape, size, or level of fitness.”
Pru felt empowered by participating in the Warrior Women creative expression project for breast cancer survivors during 2000 and was surprised to become the “poster” pic for subsequent touring exhibitions. She has also trained as a Consumer Rep for BCNA.
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 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”.
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.
Karen Jones - Office Coordinator
Karen joined DAA in June 2017 in the role of Office Coordinator on a casual basis. Karen has over 24 years experience as an Executive Assistant and has worked for Managing Directors, CFO’s and GM’s in many large and small companies. Karen’s background as an EA has allowed her to work in many industries, some of which have taken her from Sydney to the UK and more recently settling in Brisbane by the bay. Karen has also run her own business offering virtual office administration services.
Karen is a breast cancer survivor and paddled briefly with Dragons Abreast Brisbane. Karen is married with 2 beautiful girls and loves spending time with family & friends, dancing and living life to it's fullest.
Colette McCaffrey - Bookkeeper
Colette joined the DAA team in July 2017 as contract bookkeeper. Colette is a registered BAS agent and has had over 10 years experience in bookkeeping for small to medium size businesses. Colette currently works for several businesses as their contract bookkeeper.
Annually Colette enrols in training courses and is a member of Institute of Certified Bookkeepers to ensure her bookkeeping skills and knowledge are maintained. Her professional career started as a product co-ordinator within Flight Centre's head office.
While working for Flight Centre, Colette travelled to many wonderful places around the world. Flight Centre provided Colette with amazing training and development opportunities, while working in several different roles in both Australia and the UK.
As a mum of two boys life is always full of adventure and fun and not knowing what will happen next. For enjoyment Colette likes to do group boxing, camping, reading, Feng Shui and holistic therapies.
Vanessa Scott - Communications Coordinator
Vanessa also joined the DAA team in July 2017 in the role of Communications Coordinator.
Vanessa most recently worked in communications for a regional local government and prior to that was based overseas, working in PR, Marketing and Communications in the Middle East and North Africa regions.
Vanessa's experience overseas has given her wide insight into working with and communicating with varied cultures as well as enough funny stories to fill a book!
Also a breast cancer graduate, Vanessa is passionate about DAA's vision of spreading awareness, empowering individuals, and educating on the benefits of an active lifestyle after a breast cancer diagnosis.
A mother to two live wires, Vanessa enjoys travelling, creating art and writing, and may just be found in a dragon boat very soon.
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 has been contracted to DAA as their Festival Project Manager since 2013 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.
Dragons Abreast Australia is sponsored by Specialised Therapeutics Australia, an international biopharmaceutical company with strategic focus and expertise in Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia.
With the highest professional and ethical standards, Specialised Therapeutics Australia commercialise therapies and technologies that uniquely fulfil the unmet medical needs of the community.