Cancer survivor steps out to support others

Debbie’s Dropouts team members (back, from left) Troy Houston, Paul Elliott and Brian Gillespie with (front) Oriana Houston, Jack Gillespie and Earl Lambert.
Debbie’s Dropouts team members (back, from left) Troy Houston, Paul Elliott and Brian Gillespie with (front) Oriana Houston, Jack Gillespie and Earl Lambert.

Now in his mid 20s, Mr Lambert said he was feeling fine and getting on with his life, but a legacy of his early chemotherapy and radiotherapy sessions had left him prone to skin cancer.

‘I have to constantly go to hospital for skin check-ups,’ he said. ‘I don’t like it, but I have to do it. Going to hospital reminds me of my past chemo and radiotherapy years.’

Earl met Edgewater resident Brian Gillespie several years ago while attending Camp Quality, an organisation dedicated to improving the lives of children suffering cancer. At the time Mr Gillespie was a leader with the group.

‘Brian ‘adopted’ me at Camp Quality, and he is family to me now,’ Mr Lambert said.

While no longer involved with Camp Quality, Mr Gillespie is still doing what he can to fight cancer.

He has formed a team to take part in the WA Cancer Council’s Joondalup-Wanneroo Relay for Life, which will be held at Arena Joondalup on October 19 and 20. Relay for Life teams have 10 to 15 members, who take turns to walk or run around the track over the 24 hours of the event.

Funds raised through sponsorship and other activities assist the council with its research and support programs.

‘Our team come from all sorts of backgrounds and ages,’ Mr Gillespie said. ‘To attract sponsorship I approached Paul and Debbie Elliott, the proprietors of the Old Bailey. They were very supportive, so we named ourselves Debbie’s Dropouts, after Debbie.

‘A group of businessmen, who meet at the Old Bailey for their Pink Socks Day, is partly sponsoring us. The businessmen must wear pink socks, ask for permission to go to the toilet, and not talk without permission or allow mobile phones to sound.

‘Apparently they have a lot of fun, but get fined heavily for not doing the right thing.

‘It can cost up to $20 to go to the toilet without permission. So they raise a lot of money, which they donate to charities, which is very fortunate for us.’

The Relay for Life organising committee is looking for more teams to take part in the event. For more information, call 0497 384 486 or email relayteamsjoondalup-wanneroo@gmail.com