Inspiring teen's 'special list'

Inspiring teen's 'special list'

Dainere Anthoney prefers to call it her ''special list'', not her bucket list, and it's all about embracing life.

The softly-spoken Gungahlin teen was diagnosed with a brain tumour - or high-risk medulloblastoma - in 2009.

Gungahlin teenager Dainere Anthoney with her teddy bear Theodore.

Gungahlin teenager Dainere Anthoney with her teddy bear Theodore.

She underwent intensive treatment throughout that year including surgery, high-dose radiotherapy and chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant.

When incurable and inoperable tumours were discovered on her spine in February, her doctor suggested she write a bucket list.


Dainere says there are more than 20 things on her special list and ''still room for more''.

She has ticked off a few things including a ride in a stretch Hummer, participating in the Women and Girls Fun Run in her wheelchair and, most importantly, publishing her second book (more on that in a moment).

The items still on the list include:

■ Having a ferry ride on the lake

■ Going for a hot-air balloon ride

■ Rock climbing

■ Ten pin bowling

■ Having a rose named after me (roses are my favourite flower)

■ Going to a cat show

■ Going to a special animal feeding at the National Zoo and Aquarium

■ Having a star named after me

■ Playing putt putt golf

■ Having a special party with all the wonderful people I have met on my journey.

Dainere is a thoughtful 14-year-old.

When she was just 12 and granted a Starlight Foundation wish in 2010, she bypassed the usual trips to Disneyland and asked that her book, You have to go through a storm to get to a rainbow, based on her blog, be published. All funds from the book went to the Sydney Children's Hospital Foundation Brain Tumour Fund, with all 2240 copies sold.

Now her second book, Theodore and Friends - Theodore is Left Out, has been published thanks to a community effort, with all funds going again to the hospital fund.

Dainere, in her own inimitable style, says she feels ''splendiferous'' to have her second book published, based on her own teddy bear Theodore, who has been by her side throughout all her treatment. In the book, Theodore goes away for a while and comes back in a wheelchair, having to deal with being treated differently as a result.

''I did draw from my own experiences of people treating me differently during and after my treatment for my cancer. I think people are a bit scared when you have cancer and you change a bit in looks and abilities,'' Dainere said.

''I hope my book sends the message that just because you are different it doesn't mean that you are not the same person you were before. The book also teaches understanding, tolerance, kindness and acceptance of who you are.''

Retired teacher Anna Chrysostomou got the ball rolling on the book, contacting Kimberley Gaal at the ACT Writers Centre who put the call out, with Blue Star printers printing the first 100 books at cost. Opposition Leader Zed Seselja, who spoke at the launch of Dainere's first book, also handed over $1000 from the Liberal Party to have another 100 books printed.

Dainere's mother Yvonne said her daughter had shown enormous inner strength.

Dainere says she hopes the two books will be her lasting legacy.

''But also my dream of raising funds to one day find a cure for childhood brain tumours, also because I love rainbows I would like to think that when one appears people would think of me and find hope, courage and determination,'' she said.

To order the book go to

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