Queenstown’s ultimate volunteer

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Brave Queenstown community stalwart Glenn ‘Scooter’ Reid’s still doing his bit despite battling cancer, Philip Chandler reports

One of Queenstown’s best-known volunteers isn’t letting life-threatening cancer get in the way of his beloved community work. 

Longtime local Glenn ‘Scooter’ Reid, grimly diagnosed with pancreatic cancer seven months ago, has been doing his best to keep up with his tireless free commitments. 

Last month the electrician was overseeing power requirements for Winter Festival opening night and Mardi Gras. 

The former festival technician was passing on his knowledge to the event’s production manager “because there’ll come a day when I can’t”. 

“I’m still fit enough now to do it, it might be different next year.” 

Reid even took leave from a stay at Dunedin Hospital in January to attend the national rugby sevens back home – while still on a drip. 

“I told the hospital staff I wanted to get out because it was something I had organised and wanted to be involved with.” 

The Wakatipu Rugby Club committee member – and former team manager and club captain – has been on the Sevens With Altitude organising committee in recent years. 

He switched to rugby administration after 20 years’ intense involvement with Showbiz Queenstown. 

From starting out handling the lighting at local stage productions, he looked after the technical aspects of every show, wound up being president and was made a life member for his efforts. 

Just last week he was passing on his ideas on how to improve the Memorial Hall for live musical performances.

Reid originally got into stage shows because he “wasn’t very good” at school sport, but confesses he hasn’t got a musical bone in his body either. 

“I got involved because it was something different and it was fun. 

“I like being involved, you meet lots of different people and you keep doing it for those people and the sense of satisfaction.” 

His selfless contributions have seen Reid rack up two community awards. 

But now he needs the community’s support. 

Last December, suffering a blocked liver, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. 

Worse, the cancer had spread and he was given just 12 months to live. 

Reid – who turns 40 in September – says “the specialists all said they didn’t expect to see it in someone my age”. 

“It’s not hereditary, I didn’t do anything wrong, it’s just a short straw, mate. 

“It’s a big kick in the teeth, isn’t it, when you go from being reasonably healthy to being told you’ve got a limited time to live.” 

Reid admits it was initially tough being in hospital for treatment. 

“I was in a lot of pain, I was crying and moaning and carrying on and couldn’t get relief.” 

Reid says he’s now in a better condition and is pleased to have just finished a six-month course of nausea-inducing chemotherapy. 

Following a recent Mountain Scene campaign, he and other cancer patients have now been travelling to Clyde’s Dunstan Hospital for regular chemo sessions, rather than attending the much-further-away Southland Hospital in Invercargill, like they had to do previously. 

“The other day I left home at 11.50am and was back at 2.45pm, that’s brilliant. 

“The chemo’s just given me a bit longer and some quality of life, just keeping things at bay so I’m not in hospital all the time.” 

Reid says he loves having visitors, as long as they’re not sick, and is flattered to be told how well he looks.

In spring he’s off to two Rugby World Cup pool games in Dunedin and has bought a ticket for the final in Auckland – it will be his first visit to Eden Park. 

“Everything I do from now on is a once-in-a-lifetime chance.” 

Then at Christmas there’ll be a visit from his Australian-based sisters, niece and nephew to look forward to. 

Reid even holds out hopes he can resume work at Frankton Electrical this summer. 

But he’s also brutally realistic: “I’m kind of a science-based guy, the doctors aren’t hopeful of me beating it, I guess I’ve accepted what’s going to happen.” 

Reid says his parents are taking it worse – his mum gave up work to look after him. 

“You don’t expect to have to bury your son or your kids, it’s supposed to be me that ends up looking after them.
“In some ways I’m lucky, I haven’t got a wife or a partner so I don’t have to drag someone through that.” 

Meantime, Reid says: “I’ll keep doing the Sevens, keep being involved in that sort of thing.” 

Amazingly, he even feels he’s not pulling his weight at the rugby club: “I haven’t got as much time to help them, I feel guilty for not doing stuff there.”