Chad wins Greek Islands getaway
If Mark ‘Chad’ O’beirne, 54, of Horsham had his way, he and his wife Leeann would be jumping on the next plane to Europe to soak up a holiday experience in the Greek Islands.
But Chad, who won The Weekly Advertiser, 3WM and MIXX FM Ultimate Greek Island Getaway competition, must wait until at least March next year.
The genial manager of Coles Liquorland in Horsham and popular and highly respected Wimmera sporting personality, renowned for a tenacious approach to sport, is grounded for the moment as he trials a new drug in a fight against cancer.
“We can’t go on the holiday for a while because I’m not allowed to go anywhere until the trial finishes at the end of March. But hopefully we can go after that,” he said.
“So it will be next year some time. We’ll turn it into an extended tour of Europe so we can make the most of it. We do a bit of travelling and were planning to go to Asia, but that now changes.”
Diagnosis in December last year revealed that Chad, a familiar figure in Wimmera league and Horsham cricket circles, had melanoma cancer.
The disease revealed itself as a lump under his arm. He acted quickly and sought medical advice and after diagnosis was soon undergoing surgery and follow-up treatment at Peter Maccallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne.
Specialists identified and removed a secondary cancer but have yet to isolate the primary cause, which led to the trial drug treatment.
“At the end of the day I was lucky to have found the lump and do something about it straight away,” he said.
“The hope is that this drug will knock it over and everyone is fairly confident we’re going to beat it.
“I’m also a good candidate because I’m young, fit and healthy. They told me not to change my lifestyle and I haven’t. I’m still running a couple of times a week, umpiring footy and having a couple of beers every now and then.
“What will be will be. These are the cards I’ve been dealt and I have to deal with them.”
Chad said he had struggled to believe he had won the Greek Island Getaway competition, which involved shoppers entering at participating businesses across the region.
“We had a footy club show on and went to Freijahs to buy some new clothes and support Horsham Saints club sponsors,” he said.
“While Leeann was picking shirts I thought I would fill one of the entry forms out. I had completely forgotten about it.
“Then on Friday, Leeann rang and said I had won the trip to Greece.
“I said ‘bulldust’ and she went on explaining that our son Jacob had called her with the news. Of course that made me more suspicious and I said I had to go and hung up.
“I later had another phone call from the radio station and I still thought my son was playing a trick, perhaps using a girlfriend to add to the joke.
“But then the voice on the other line told me I had bought the ticket at Freijahs and that I was live on air.
“Five minutes later I was down at Horsham Plaza. It was a big surprise.
“When I beat this thing at the end of March I’ll have somewhere to go and have a bit of a celebration. It will be really good and I can’t wait.”
Leeann and Mark O'beirne