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Carrying the baton for breast cancer

Giving Back Connectedness Community Lifestyle Positive Ageing Stories Volunteer Wellbeing
  • IRT Kangara Waters resident Linda Reaby a breast cancer survivor
  • Commonwealth Games baton honour recognised dedication to breast cancer research and patient advocacy
  • Also carried torch for Sydney Olympic Games in 2000
  • Established Consumer Advisory Panel for the Australian and New Zealand Breast Cancer Trials Group
25 February 2018

Canberra resident Dr Linda Reaby carried the 2018 Commonwealth Games baton on Australia Day, in recognition of her dedication to breast cancer research and patient advocacy.

“I’ll tell you what, it was probably one of the highlights of all the things that I’ve done”
Dr Linda Reaby

Australia Day 2018 was one to remember for Dr Linda Reaby AM PhD.

On 26 January, Linda was in Commonwealth Park, Canberra, carrying the baton for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

She received this honour in recognition of her hard work and dedication to breast cancer research and patient advocacy in Australia, the United States and Budapest.

It was the second time the IRT Kangara Waters resident has enjoyed such an honour. In 2000 Linda carried the torch for the Sydney Olympic Games.

“I’ll tell you what, it was probably one of the highlights of all the things that I’ve done,” Linda says of the experience.

Linda ran with the Olympic torch, but walked with the Commonwealth Games baton.

She has rheumatoid arthritis but was determined not to let that slow her down. When The Good Life spoke to her in the lead-up to the event, she’d started her preparation work and was ready to go.

“I’m looking forward to it and I’m very honoured.”

The fact Linda has been successfully nominated twice is testament to how much she has accomplished in her life.

In 1990 she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She counts herself one of the lucky ones because she didn’t need chemotherapy and radiation. She had both breasts removed and breast reconstruction.

Linda focused on the positives of her experience and wanted to give back to other women.

“After I recovered from the emotional shock, I wanted to do something so that future women would never hear those four words ‘you have breast cancer’,” she says.

Linda retired as an Associate Professor and Head of Nursing at the University of Canberra in 2007.

Being both a breast cancer survivor and a researcher gives her a unique view of breast cancer treatment. This helped her establish a Consumer Advisory Panel for the Australian and New Zealand Breast Cancer Trials Group.

In addition, she works with researchers from the Garvan Institute for Medical Research, and the Breast International Group located in Budapest. It is important to Linda that patients have a voice in the clinical trial process. It’s hard work but something that Linda enjoys immensely.

“I’ve given a lot but I’ve gotten a lot more back,” she says.

“Compared to 1990, 50 per cent more Australian women diagnosed with breast cancer are alive today because of the work that researchers and patient advocates do.”

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