John and Chris Bowie can't wait to get back to Noosa and begin his cancer treatment.
John and Chris Bowie can't wait to get back to Noosa and begin his cancer treatment.

Cancer patient’s joy after border backflip

A Noosa man battling pancreatic cancer has had his spirits lifted by a Queensland Health about-face that will finally allow him to return home.

Cartoonist John Bowie, 73, was far from amused by his New South Wales lockdown after he and wife Chris travelled to Sydney for his medical treatment.

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Noosa residents organised a Main Beach protest rally last week after the Bowies were given repeated refusals by authorities to travel back home from Port Macquarie.

People power appeared to have worked just a few days later.

Mr Bowie is considered one of the morning beach brigades’ bright and cheery souls in his yellow outfits.

Their ordeal ended when a Sunshine Coast University doctor rang to say the couple could be released from their isolation to travel home for radiation treatment.

“The great news is they’ve turned around and given us an exemption,” Chris said from their Port Macquarie motel room.

“I can’t believe it, it’s out the blue. It was just the best news ever,” she said.

“Because John’s not quite well enough to travel back now, we have another week here in Port Macquarie.”

Noosa's John and Chris Bowie.
Noosa's John and Chris Bowie.

They had deliberately moved away from the hot spots of Sydney to north of Newcastle which was COVID-19 free, to increase their chances of being allowed across the border.

“We came to Port Macquarie because we used to live here and we’d get to see people we know and it would be more comfortable for John,” Chris said.

They are booked on a Sunday flight to travel back to Sydney and then fly back to the Coast on Monday.

Chris said the Noosa rally in support of John was unbelievable.

“It was humbling, it really was, we were blown apart by it,” she said.

“I feel it certainly helped, something’s happened.

“John will be part of the bubble with that (Sunshine Coast University) hospital and when we get home we have to start organising his radiation.’

They initially chose to head to Sydney for treatment under a doctor who was one of the best in his field.

Chris said earlier scans taken after a round of chemotherapy had shown the tumour had shrunk significantly, but when his Sydney doctor opened John up the cancer was found to be inoperable.

“There’s a still a little bit of hope, the surgeon down here said to go back and have radiation to try and reduce the cancer.

“He said ‘look don’t give up hope’.”

When they arrive back on Monday, the couple will still have to isolate but the hospital is arranging special ambulance transport for his treatment sessions.