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What unplanned moments have become part of the personal history of team HC? 


Despite having close friends and family go down with Covid and living my life carefully but not impeded too much by Covid I thought I was pretty invincible and wouldn’t catch it. That all ended this week when I tested positive and hadn’t planned to be so positively out of action. Lucky I have an amazing team.


I’m terrible about not opening mail. If it’s from my super fund, it’s just some account update I don’t need to read. If it’s from the bank, it’s a statement I don’t need to see. So, I leave them unopened in a pile and eventually throw them out. One day many years ago my partner accidentally opened a letter of mine, from a bank I no longer used. Surprise! $10,000 I had forgotten about! You would think I might learn something from this, but nope – virtually the same thing happened a few years later.


I was travelling and volunteering in South Africa in 2013 with a friend, and we were on a bus charter back after a weekend away in Durban. The bus stopped for us to get snacks at a bus depot in a suburb we did not know. Luckily, we brought our backpacks with all our belongings with us – as after getting some chips and drinks for the rest of the trip back to our house, we got back to find the bus had left without us! After a few moments of panic and ‘where the hell are we and what will we do’ we realised we were near a train station, so called our host family (the only number we had in the mobile phone we borrowed from them for emergencies) and they told us where to go so they could pick us up.


Well, I am still not sure what would have happened if the horse lost…my fiancée, a jockey, helped prepare a racehorse who he thought was a good thing at Randwick. I put the bet on, finally getting the better of a rails bookmaker who had usually taken my hard earned. This led to a proposal on the beach. We have been married for over 26 years now. The horse who paid for the ring was called Diamond Storm. 


Whilst I was planning for the birth of my second child, I got the shocking news that I had an aggressive form of breast cancer. Eight hours later, I had a newborn. Eight days after that I started chemotherapy. It was completely unplanned chaos – but really, is there ever a good time to get cancer? What I learnt is there’s never a good time for a crisis and there is ALWAYS someone worse off. Life is about putting things into perspective and learning to deal with things as they arise. I’m a planner and highly organised person, so this pushed my innate mental behaviours. Life became regimented due to medical appointments, but chaotic due to constant complications as well as life with a newborn and toddler. This time highlighted how important it is to build a community around you, the benefits to be open and vulnerable, and that there is nothing more important than my family. Fortunately, I am coming up to my 5 years “cancerversary”, but these lessons from my unplanned moment will stay with me forever.