Spotlight on Can Too Hall of Famer Christine Napier

by Emma Brown 30 Mar 2021

Position title: Cancer Researcher, Garvan Institute of Medical Research

Lives: Randwick

Age: 43

What led you on your Can Too journey?

During my time as a post-doctoral researcher at the Children’s Medical Research Institute, I was successful in obtaining funding from Can Too in 2010 and 2014. Can Too provided me with financial support, as well as instilling confidence in myself as a researcher. Visiting running and swimming pods provided me with motivation to continue (sometimes frustrating!) research into understanding why cancer cells are immortal – they can divide (grow) an unlimited number of times.

In 2017, I moved to the Australian Genomic Cancer Medicine Program (AGCMP) at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, which was supported by Can Too as well. I spoke to Annie Crawford at the launch of the AGCMP, and Annie encouraged me to join a swim program in the summer of 2017. I did, and the rest is history! I enjoyed the swim program that much, that I’m now participating in my fourth Can Too swim program and highly recommend it!

Which of your research projects did Can Too fund?

The projects that were funded by Can Too during my time at the Children’s Medical Research Institute involved studying the caps on the ends of chromosomes (telomeres) and how their dynamics contribute to cancer development. My research also examined how we could potentially take advantage of some of the molecular changes in cancer cells to use a modified virus to eliminate (kill) cancer cells. 

Why Can Too?

The coaching is amazing; the life-long friends you’ll make are the crème de la crème; you’ll feel calm in your mind, body and spirit - knowing that you are supporting cancer researchers and making a difference to the detection and treatment of future cancers.

Which Can Too Pod are you a member of?                                                                                                      

Prince Alfred Park

Why do you love or enjoy ocean swimming?

It’s my happy place, and where I can relax. It feels meditative.

What are some of the key things you’ve learnt from being part of Can Too?

The power of mind over matter (you CAN tackle those waves, one stroke at a time); swimming around Little Head during the Big Swim is breathtaking; together, we CAN do it!; comradery and coffee go hand in hand; having a buddy swim next to you is like a security blanket.

Favourite Can Too moment?

Crossing the finish line after a race, with supporters cheering “Go Can Too!!!”

What’s most rewarding about fundraising?

Knowing that the funds raised will go toward groundbreaking research

How do you fundraise?

Social media posts (see an Instagram post below), Bunnings BBQs and cake stalls, selling baked goods and other homemade products. Always more fun with a fellow Can Too buddy! Self-funding is also useful once you’re on your fourth program.

What is your advice to others fundraising for Can Too?

Find a buddy and get creative! 

How do you keep motivated when training and or fundraising gets tough?

Thinking of cancer patients and how hopefully research can reduce or alleviate suffering, or provide new diagnostic tools to identify early stage cancers.

Do you have a favourite motivational quote?

“What seems impossible today will one day become your warm up.” (Thanks to my PAP Team Captain Nisha Sachdev for sending Monday Morning Motivations!).

Are there any supporters you’d like to thank?

Each and every one – together we’ll make a difference; everyone plays a vital role in the Can Too community.

What are you listening to?

Richard Fidler’s Conversations podcast.

What's your favourite film?

Bohemian Rhapsody

What do you eat pre-race? 

A coffee and a banana

What's your go to meal post-race?

Ham and cheese croissant and another coffee.

You're perfect weekend?

Beach (swimming) holiday with my husband.

What’s something about you we didn’t know before?

My nickname is Shoelace, due to the analogy I routinely use to explain the relationship between chromosomes and telomeres, and a shoelace and the plastic cap (aglet) that protects the end of the shoelace.

Talent that you wish you had?

The ability to stay awake past 9pm.... (I'm a super-early bird!).