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Peter O’Shaughnessy is an Author, Bush Poet, Cartoonist and Landscape Artist and retired industrial chemist living in Eaton, WA.

Pete worked as an Industrial Chemist for over fifty years in Australia, the UK, the USA and even for a short time in China. He then tried his “luck as a farmer for several unsuccessful years and although I could get a fleece off a sheep, I would never call myself a shearer”, he says.

Pete also shares, “as far back as I can remember I have always drawn, painted, and written rough doggerel verse. After visiting a Bush Poetry night in Bunbury in 2016, I decided that it looked easy and that I would present some of my own work. It is not easy and in fact has very strict conventional requirements that must be met.

Competition Bush Poetry must be about something Australian and must have perfect rhyme, metre and punctuation. It took me several years to get the hang of it but since then I have had some success, including the Australian Novice Championship in 2017, Queensland Champion twice, the Bronze Spur, the Boree Log, the Oracles of the Bush, the Dusty Swag and many other awards. My work appears in numerous poetry anthologies, but my own books are now largely sold out.”

In retirement Pete and his wife, Deeny O’Shaughnessy, did a lot of travelling visiting 63 countries with several trips around and across Australia both tenting and in later years in a small off-road caravan. For some years Deeny suffered with serious back pain, “a problem when you are out the back of beyond”, Pete noted.

Deeny was later diagnosed with myeloma cancer. “Looking back, I am sure that had the doctors said she had myeloma she would have shrugged and said “Oh! What’s that.” and carried on with her treatment. Just the mention of the word cancer’ sent her into the deepest most awful depression, from which she never fully recovered. I feel that this is an area that warrants further research”, he says.

After Deeny passed away Pete was determined to give something back and became involved with Val and Lyn at Cancer Council WA’s Dot’s Place Bunbury, “two wonderful people who had helped ease our way through an awful time. I began volunteering and helping to raise money. I did look a prize dill in my outfit for daffodil day”, he shares.

Pete says, “I had my first book launch at the old Cancer Council WA’s Dot’s Place Bunbury premises to raise money and then wrote the story of Deeny’s cancer journey. This rapidly sold out, but I did donate several copies to Dot’s Place for their library. At about this point I came to realise the need for cancer research. I had worked in research and development myself, so I knew how difficult it was for young researchers to get funding, so after discussions with Cancer Council WA, I began to make an annual contribution to young researchers, and I have continued to support the research program to this day. Proceeds from painting exhibitions and the sale of books and poems have enabled me to keep this support going.

We must continue to hope that one day we will find the answers to stopping cancer. I get the feeling that our researchers are sneaking up on it from many directions, but that’s how it works. In any field it rarely happens in one blinding flash of discovery, but rather in a series of small steps. These steps take time and money and that’s why we should, all of us, continue to support cancer research.

It gives me a wonderful feeling of involvement to select a project to support, meet the researchers and even get to visit their laboratories to see how it is all done. When I was still able to attend Cancer Council WA’s annual Research Awards Lunch, it gave me great pleasure to re-meet some of them and even get a hug or two. It has been so rewarding to be a little bit involved and see the progress these youngsters are making.

I am sure my Deeny would have been thankful and so proud of you all.”

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