Our Team


Mabel Sansom (Chair)

Mabel was elected to the Board of Dragons Abreast Australia in November 2014.  She became Chair in January 2017.

Mabel has been involved in a number of breast cancer charities for many years.  While living in Canada, Mabel and a colleague started WICC http://www.wicc.ca (Women in Insurance Cancer Crusade).   Since 1996 the charity has donated more than $15M for breast cancer research.  At the time of the launch in 1996 the rallying cry was ‘fight back’ against breast cancer and continues to motivate fundraising activities.  All funds raised were donated to the Canadian Cancer Council with a focus on research, particularly breast cancer.

When Mabel moved to Australia in 2000, she worked for many years in the insurance and superannuation industry.  As a member of Women in Super Mabel was a member of the organizing committee for the Canberra Mother’s Day Classic.

Mabel’s goal when joining DAA was to use her extensive business and Board experience to advance the mission of DAA.  She continues to be touched by so many stories from DAA members as to how paddling has improved their health after treatment.  Her wish is that all breast cancer survivors around the country have the same opportunity to paddle.

Anne Stowe (Director)

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.


Pru Menzies (Director)

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.

Pat Hancock (Director)


A long term resident of Darwin at the time she was diagnosed, Pat was introduced to Dragons Abreast in 2001 as soon as she finished treatment 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 has a wealth of experience in breast cancer research advocacy, is a member of the National Breast Cancer Foundation's consumer advocacy panel and has represented Breast Cancer Network Australia on various national and international research projects.  She is an affiliate member of Breast Cancer Trials.

Pat is employed in the Australian Senate as a parliamentary adviser, dividing her time between Canberra and her home in Brisbane.  She was appointed as a DAA Board member in 2018 following five years as a member of the Advisory Panel.

Gemma Bawden (Director)
Gemma joined DAA as a Director from the ACT.  Having experienced close loved ones affected by breast cancer, Gemma is passionate about promoting breast cancer awareness and the importance of providing a strong community to support both breast cancer survivors and affected family members and friends.  As such, Gemma seeks the opportunity to give back to the DAA community by lending her governance, risk management, and digital marketing skills.
When not working as a Management Consultant full time, Gemma loves being outdoors, going camping, hiking or relaxing on a beach with friends and family, and is looking forward to trying her hand at dragon boating as well.
Ross Halfacree (Director) 
As a consequence of his partner’s breast cancer, Ross has been a supporter of DAA for the past 5 years. Through the support of both local and international events, he has witnessed the friendships and joy provided by dragon boat competition and participation.
Ross has held senior management roles across a range of government and private business sectors, including the past 12 years working with international medical device manufacturers. He hopes to contribute to the growth and sustainability of DAA using his sales, marketing, and strategic planning skills and knowledge.
Ross is a Non-Executive Board Director and Member of the Finance and Risk Sub-Committee at Seniors Rights Service (SRS). SRS is an organisation dedicated to protecting and advancing the rights of older people, particularly vulnerable and disadvantaged groups.  He is also a member of the Marketing and Fundraising Sub-committee of Odyssey House NSW (OH).  OH offers community services and residential services covering alcohol and other drug counselling, mental health services as well as family and parent support programs in locations across Sydney.

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”.

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.

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.



Karen Jones - Office Manager

Karen joined DAA in June 2017 in the role of Office Manager.  Karen has over 27 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 also runs her own business, offering virtual office administration services.

Karen is a breast cancer survivor, diagnosed in 2005 and again in 2017, she 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.




Exclusive Dragons Abreast Australia promotional products.

Dragons Abreast Shop

Our Sponsors

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.


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

Happy Breast Balm and the Ultimate Breast Care Routine aims to inspire and encourage women to get in touch with their breasts, give them some regular TLC and really get to know them.
The balm aims to help in a breast care routine that stimulates the lymphatic system which may clear and detox the many lymph vessels within breast tissue, improve blood flow and affirm daily health, well-being and gratitude for life.
Use Code 'breastcareoct20' during October for 20% off all online sales.



Amoena - supporting women’s confidence after breast cancer and throughout life.

As the world leader in research and manufacture of breast forms our story began 43 years and has expanded into 82 countries. 

In recent years Amoena have incorporated cooling technology (Comfort+) into the breast forms. Lingerie has evolved from basic pocketed bra to high fashion French inspired lingerie.


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