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Lisa’s Story

How Sam helped in Lisa’s lung cancer journey

Life has a way of waking you up in the most forceful of ways, like a metaphorical slap in the face. While every day on this planet is one to be appreciated, some people push it just that little bit further and are an inspiration to all those around them.

Never to miss a moment, always the life of the party, my beautiful friend Robbie pushed the envelope of the 24-hour day. His enthusiasm for life was infectious.

I blame him for my addiction to adrenalin – from pushing me out of a plane on my birthday, to pushing on for one more hour to watch the sunrise in my car after a big night out.

While we drifted apart in our lives, I followed his lead. Not long after 25 candles stacked up on the birthday cake, I started a new career in journalism, and began writing about my secret passion – cars.

A handful of years later, I work for Australia’s leading motoring magazine, driving and testing everything from $15K hatchbacks to million-dollar supercars, and judging on its Car of the Year – and the only female judge in World Car of the Year.

And I drive and navigate in rallying. There’s nothing like the adrenalin hit, the rush of speed on a road open only to you. It makes you feel alive, pure and simple.

It was just after one such rally that Robbie sent me a message out of the blue. He told me about a person I had never met who was diagnosed with lung cancer – there came that slap of reality.

Lisa Bowen was 38 years of age, a mother and wife, and never smoked a day in her life.

He asked for help, and I contributed in my own small way – by offering up a panel on my rally car to a message for Lisa directing people to Lung Cancer Network Australia’s website.

It read; “No one deserves lung cancer”.

Pictures of the car and its prominent sticker made several articles – the only girl in a rally gets a fair bit of attention.

So started a tradition.

Six different race cars of mine have worn the message over the course of this year, and we have slapped the signage on official cars, fellow competitors’ cars, and wherever we can. It has been no effort for what I hope is much gain.

Lisa is now at peace. While I never met her or her beautiful family, my tiny effort to help was mentioned at the funeral. It floored me –
how such a small effort can make such a difference, even to one person.

I hope my adrenalin addiction and appreciation of life never fades, and those stickers stay loud on every car I race from this day forward.




Sam raising awareness through motor sport

On the track

Lisa and family at Christmas

Lisa and family