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Mr Jacaranda battles cancer

STANDING STRONG: Doug Barnier at last year?s Jacaranda Queen crowning. Doug, recently diagnosed with cancer, has vowed to fight
STANDING STRONG: Doug Barnier at last year?s Jacaranda Queen crowning. Doug, recently diagnosed with cancer, has vowed to fight

By EMMA CORNFORD

ecornford@dailyexaminer.com.au

GRAFTON community stalwart, the voice of Jacaranda and long-time Rotarian, Doug Barnier, has been diagnosed with cancer.

It was on June 22 that Mr Barnier found out he had a brain tumour. A few days, tests revealed he had a primary tumour on his lung.

The 63-year-old will soon have surgery and radiotherapy for the brain tumour and will then return to Grafton to undergo chemotherapy for his lung tumour.

But he said he would not let the cancers overtake his life.

"Last week I had myself dead and buried, but I'm going to fight this. I'm not going to let it destroy my life," he said.

"When my doctor told me about the treatment I thought 'I can do this' ? and I will."

Mr Barnier, well known for his tireless work for the community, said the support he had received from his family and friends had been 'amazing'.

"Denise and the kids have held me up with so much love and support. I really know the value of a good family ? they're incredible and they'll get me through," he said.

"People in the community as well, with their well-wishes and support. It really is humbling and I appreciate it so much."

All his life, Mr Barnier has been a racing and sports enthusiast and has long been involved with The Daily Examiner's Sports Star of the Year awards ? often hosting the annual event.

He has also been an active member of Grafton Rotary since he joined the organisation in 1982, and in the mid-1980s was the driving force behind establishing a Life Education Van which visits schools around Grafton.

Grafton Rotary president Peter Black said Mr Barnier's community-mindedness was simply part of his nature.

"He's a very sharing person (and) has held a lot of Rotary positions," Mr Black said.

"He was also awarded a Paul Harris Fellowship for his dedication to Rotary and the local and international community. He's a nice guy and ... has a great heart."

The Jacaranda Festival is another area of the community where Mr Barnier has been heavily involved and last year was awarded life membership of the Jacaranda committee for his dedication ? despite never having been a committee member.

Past Jacaranda committee president June Allen said Mr Barnier's ability to not just MC the crowning ceremony each year, but also make the Jacaranda Queen candidates feel at ease, was a special gift.

"He puts a personal side to it and has always treated all the girls equally and by the time it's all over they're his friend," Ms Allen said.

"He's the type of person that if one of the girls has a problem he's always open for them to talk to and that's been one of the highlights of his involvement. What you see is what you get with Doug and he treats everyone as an equal."

Mr Barnier thanked everyone who had supported he and his family so far.

"It's not curable but it's treatable so we'll try and manage it," he said.

"I've got a few good years left in me yet."



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