REAL LIFE

Remembering ‘Dory’ with this heart-warming tribute

When tragedy struck her family, all Helen could do was 'just keep swimming'.
Helen Edney

Helen ‘Eddie’ Edney, 44, Hervey Bay

Certain people steal your heart the moment you meet them. My partner, Helen, was one of them. Set up on a blind date by friends back in 2000, I was immediately drawn to her positive, easy-going nature.

We quickly fell for each other and took off travelling from the UK before moving here three years later. That year, the movie Finding Nemo came out and we went to see it. The character Dory was exactly like Helen, who was famous for her scatty memory and relentless optimism. 


‘I’m going to call you Dory from now on,’ I joked. Soon everyone referred to Helen as Dory.

Certain people steal your heart the moment you meet them.

Over the years, we heard rumours of a sequel to Finding Nemo. In April 2013, Pixar confirmed the movie was happening and it was going to focus on Dory! ‘You get your own film,’ I teased my Dory.

But before the film was released, tragedy struck. In August last year, Dory was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer that started in her bile duct and spread throughout her body. I was devastated when we learnt it was terminal. With the help of palliative care, Dory was able to spend her last days at home with me.

‘You need to hang on for your movie,’ I said, ‘just keep swimming.’

Sadly Dory passed away in February, 2016. For her memorial, everyone dressed in bright colours to celebrate her life. But I wanted to honour Dory once the movie opened.

Raining money at the cinema for the cancer council
Helen and friends remembering Dory at the Finding Dory screening. (Credit: Helen Edney)

My local cinema helped arrange a special screening of the film to raise money for the Cancer Council and the local palliative care unit. On the night, I was overwhelmed. Seeing Dory on the screen, was like connecting with my Dory.

We raised over $10,000. I know Dory would be proud. It’s hard to live without her but all I can do is just keep swimming.

Originally published in that’s life! Issue 30, 2016.

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