"SPORT supports intergenerational engagement and that's why it's an absolute gem to have Danny Buderus talking at a leadership forum."
The praise for Taree's most decorated rugby league player comes from author Tanya Saad and points to his involvement in today's Myall Lakes Young Leadership Forum at Club Taree.
Sport and its positive impacts on individuals and community is a relatable issue to Tanya as she was a competitive cyclist.
Danny is a household name in the Manning Valley. He is Taree's most decorated rugby league player who started his football career in Group Three junior rugby league. He moved to Newcastle and holds the record for the most first grade appearances with the Newcastle Knights and he captained both Australia and in NSW.
Whilst Tanya has sporting credentials, it is not sport that earned her a berth at the forum but her book about her breasts, 'From The Feet Up'.
In recent months, Tanya has engaged the nation in a discussion about her breasts and her choice to have them removed following testing that revealed she carried the deadly BRCA 1 gene fault.
She is driving a national conversation about the medical history of families and the need for genetic testing to be part of the public and political dialogue about preventative health, but her campaign has also expanded to try to create support networks for BRCA 1 gene fault carriers.
Tanya is a "Taree Saad" and in recent months, the Manning Valley community has been reacquainted with her during promotion of the book and a decision to accept the role of Manning Winter Festival Ambassador.
She says she is keen to encourage people to see the value in developing resilience through hard life experiences.
Cancer peppered her family tree and so in 2008 she decided to undergo genetic testing - she had a sixth sense that something was wrong and the outcome opened Pandora's Box.
"Cancer was everywhere in my family. Eighty-five per cent of our closest family members had breast or ovarian cancer or prostate cancer in our men," Tanya explained.
"I was 30 when I learned that I had the BRCA 1 gene fault. It was devastating and it forced me to make choices, and to consider my life in a very real way.
"You know, my life has a common thread of three experiences that I see as really defining me. My heritage, faulty genetics and my sexuality.
"Remarkably, the BRCA 1 gene fault in some ways was less of an impact on me because I couldn't see it. It was major, but with it there was also a sense of deja vu, in so far as that I had been here before.
"My life had always been about finding my feet when I was a fish out of water, with no steps to follow.
"This was no different to being the eldest Arab daughter in an Anglo Saxon community who had to go to school in a small country town, or coming out as a gay woman now, I was the first woman in my family to test for the BRCA 1 gene fault and to make the decision about possible preventative surgery."
It is with this life experience that Tanya will seek to share her perspective on pathways with around 90 people aged between 18 to 35 years at the forum.
"I'm keen to share insight on how to achieve your goals, to get where you want to go in life and to know that there are many pathways you can take to get there," she explained.
"As you know there is not one pathway to reach your potential and live a successful life. It's great to be able to share my story as an illustration of how your life can evolve in ways you never imagined.
"Young people have to deal with high levels of stress and anxiety that comes from access to technology. It's a level of awareness that we've never had before of issues and challenges that impact on the community and world.
"It can be overwhelming and it helps to have leaders who can show you how to connect with themselves and their community.
"The biggest issue I see for young people is the absence of intergenerational engagement. Families don't sit together to eat, to talk, and that's a problem and a challenge.
"Sport supports intergenerational engagement and that's why it's an absolute gem to have someone like Danny Buderus on the panel."
Tanya and Danny are the only panellists who are not immersed in politics, with the other contributors being member for Myall Lakes, Stephen Bromhead, member for Lyne, David Gillespie, member for Longman, Wyatt Roy and member for Northern Tablelands, Adam Marshall.