Kiri is a digital journalist for bayofplentytimes.co.nz.

Five-time cancer survivor ready for next thrill at 96

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PLUCKY: Five-time cancer survivor Dorothy Wilson is excited to be going dragon boating for the first time with the Boobops Breast Cancer Dragon Boat Team.PHOTO/ANDREW WARNER
PLUCKY: Five-time cancer survivor Dorothy Wilson is excited to be going dragon boating for the first time with the Boobops Breast Cancer Dragon Boat Team.PHOTO/ANDREW WARNER

At 96 years old there are not many things the indomitable Dorothy Wilson has not done before but she will tick another item off her list when she gets introduced to dragon boating for the first time this weekend.

The plucky pensioner has survived breast cancer four times, bowel cancer once and had a double mastectomy at age 94.

"These ailments hit me now I'm getting getting older but I just bounce back again," she said.

"I get something, then I get over it."

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Mrs Wilson used to race bicycles when she was younger. She credited her incredible health to keeping fit.

"I used to do 11 miles to work and 11 back again," she said.

Mrs Wilson continued to ride while working with the Navy during WWII.

Her zest for life has not dulled with age. She confesses a birthday wish to fly - for a third time - in a vintage Tiger Moth to celebrate.

"I went for a flight for my 90th and 92nd in a Tiger Moth," she said.

"My son calls me relentless because I never relax."

To add to Mrs Wilson's repertoire, the nonagenarian will experience a ride in a dragon boat on Sunday, courtesy of the Boobops Breast Cancer Dragon Boat Team.

"I really don't know anything about it. I'm quite excited."

Mrs Wilson was the lucky winner of a recent dragon boat team raffle.

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When Boobops captain Julie Sach went to offer Mrs Wilson her prize, she learned the pensioner was a cancer survivor five times over.

Ms Sach invited her to join the team at a breast cancer Pink Ribbon Breakfast on Sunday, followed by a ride in a dragon boat.

"She's a bit of a daredevil," Ms Sach said.

The team was looking forward to meeting the sprightly Mrs Wilson tomorrow and showcasing what they do, Ms Sach said.

The Boobops are a team of 20 women who have all survived breast cancer.

They will paddle from the Sulphur Point Marina at 9am to Trinity Wharf, where they will have a fundraising morning tea and meet with Mrs Wilson. They will take her for a ride through Tauranga Harbour after.

Ms Sach said Mrs Wilson was an inspiration.

"I guess when you first get diagnosed it feels a bit like a death sentence. You only hear the word 'cancer'. Then to meet someone who survived it at 96 years old, it's a bit of a relief," Ms Sach said.

"It helps you understand that it's survivable. There is life after that. That's why we go out dragon boating. It's about recovery post-surgery and living life to the fullest."

Each year the New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation invites people to take part in a Pink Ribbon Breakfast with friends, family, and colleagues to raise money for the charity to help provide support to breast cancer victims and fund research treatments.

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