Women in League: Diane Langmack
What's amazing about Panthers Public and Government Relations Manager Diane Langmack isn't just that she has twice conquered life-threatening bouts of cancer, but she has done so without her enthusiasm and determination for helping others ever wavering.
Langmack – whose older brother Peter played for Penrith in the 70s and whose younger brother Paul was a premiership-winning Bulldogs through the 80s and 90s – came to the club via a career as a personal assistant, publisher and sports action photographer.
Her endless charity work was recognised with a 2013 Order of Australia Medal while she is also the chair of Cure The Future and The Australian Gynaecology Cancer Foundation.
Speaking to NRL.com about this week's 10-year Women in League anniversary, Langmack – part of the original driving force of the concept and also part of the group that introduced the successful Pink Panthers jerseys at Penrith – said it's the support of the people around her who have allowed her to continue to do what she does despite such potentially catastrophic health concerns.
"I came here [to Penrith] as a publisher, they had a magazine like a club sports journal and they offered me the role to manage it," Langmack said.
"I did that but then a year later I was diagnosed with cancer, with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. So I took a year off but I still kept working from home."
Once she returned – both to full heath and full time work – she was offered a role in the football office where she put her fundraising skills to good use in a community role.
"I've had a number of roles within the football space then when (Penrith General Manager of Football) Phil Gould came here five years ago he needed someone to keep his diary and meet with politicians so I started that role.
"Now I'm looking after Phil Gould and Royce Simmons and doing the community work. I'm on two boards outside of here – one is connected to Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, I'm the chair on the fundraising board which is called Cure The Future.
"Then I'm on another board at Prince of Wales for Australian Gynaecology so I'm the chair of that one and that raises funds for cancer research and I'm on a consumer panel for the RPA [Hospital]."
Despite having faced more than her share of adversity already, 2015 brought Langmack some more bad news.
"Then last year I was diagnosed with breast cancer. But I've beaten that as well thank goodness. I've beaten two bullets, they tell me at the hospital!" she laughed.
"The Panthers have always supported me all the way through my journey and the cancer. If you have to work anywhere I couldn't work for a better group, they're so caring and so supportive and I'm very lucky."
Langmack said she never considered backing away from her work to focus on her health and in fact found her football and charity duties took her mind of things.
"I found working in this space made it easy for me to deal with my cancer. While I was going through that journey I never thought that I actually had cancer, people had to tell me because I was so busy," she said.
"If you find a job in your life that you really love you are so blessed. If you've got really good people around you. How lucky am I to be working with Phil Gould and Royce Simmons, two of the greatest people in rugby league. I just feel really blessed."
Of the Women in League concept, Langmack said it's great to see football creating opportunities for aspiring women now more than ever.
"Football opens a lot of doors to a lot of different things we can tap into to help the community, to help women," she said.
"I've been around rugby league for over 30 years and I see the landscape changing. Years ago you'd never see a female CEO. Ladies are getting more prominent in their roles which is great.
"Women are treated with a lot of respect [at the Panthers] and it's good for the younger ladies coming through to see they can have a career in rugby league. They can climb the corporate ladder where 20 years ago you'd never think in that way."