Samantha Dawes - 10 October 2015
The Dragon Boat races started at the15th Australian Masters Games yesterday and husband and wife crew, Stephen and Mary-Anne Holt, were among the almost 600 competitors taking to the Torrens.
The South Australian couple are part of the Dragon Boat team, the Adelaide Survivors Abreast, and their focus is less about winning on the water and more about raising awareness for women and men’s breast cancer.
It is a subject only too familiar to the husband and wife team who are both breast cancer survivors.
They are keen to raise awareness that breast cancer is not only a disease for women.
“Men get breast cancer too,” says Mary-Anne, “That’s the main focus we put out because it’s that
men still don’t believe it can happen to them.”
According to the Australian Cancer Council one in 917 men are diagnosed with breast cancer each year.
“I went to a doctor and three days later I was in hospital and I was told it was breast cancer,” Stephen explains and adds, “I had five years of drugs and its 25 years down the track and touch wood, I’m alright.”
The 62 year old has also beaten a spinal tumour that was discovered over 3 years ago.
Mary-Anne began dragon boat racing back in 2003 in support of her husband’s battle with cancer, but is now at the Australian Masters games as a survivor herself, after being diagnosed in January this year.
Their strong and unwavering support of each other has helped them in their battle with cancer with the couple agreeing that dragon boating has bought them even closer.
“As the marriage vow says, in sickness and in health,” laughs Stephen.
“We’re together 24/7 just about because we do this sport together,” Marianne explains.
The pair started the Adelaide Survivors Abreast club 10 years ago and has raced at numerous Masters Games around the country.
Their love of their sport is something their team-mates share, many of whom have their own health battles.
“They’re a great team, it’s a really friendly, inclusive group of members,” smiles Mary-Anne.
“We don’t sit around and talk about it.... it gets lost in the wash and we all get on with life,” says Stephen.
The Dragon Boat competition wraps up today with the medal ceremony concluding the event.
The 15th Australian Masters Games are being held in Adelaide, October 3-10, featuring more than 10,000 participants from across Australia and around the world.
The Australian Masters Games is proudly sponsored by the South Australian Tourism Commission through Events South Australia.
More than 10,000 athletes and spectators will come together in Adelaide in 2019 for the 17th Australian Masters Games.
Tasmania’s North West has put on a show during eight days of memorable Australian Masters Games action, according to Games general manager Scott Wade.
It is impressive for anyone to take up a sport in their later years and compete as a Masters athlete, but starting out as a gymnast at the age of 60 is a remarkable achievement by Alexander Beernink.