Sam Newman and her nan Sue Newman. Sam tells us her nan, who has terminal liver cancer, is her inspiration. Picture: Max Mason-HubersWHEN Sam Newman dances before an audience tomorrow night, one of the scariest things there is, she’ll do it for her nan Sue, who’s faced something scarier.
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Sam, 23, is the Newcastle Herald contestant in the Cancer Council’s Stars of Newcastle, and Sue is down from Tenterfield to watch her dance in the final.

Sue, 70, tells us she’s always been proud of her granddaughter, who was more into skateboards and soccer as a kid. Sam tells us her nan, who has terminal liver cancer, is her inspiration.

‘‘She’s the reason I wanted to do this in the first place,’’ says Sam.

‘‘She’s an inspiration, the way she’s handled it. Nothing is ever too serious.’’

Told she could have three months to live after her diagnosis, Sue has undergone chemotherapy and seen some of the places she’s always wanted to. There’s been a trip to New Zealand, and cruises through Sydney Harbour and the Katherine Gorge.

‘‘I’ve had 18 months, and I was told I had three,’’ she says.

‘‘They haven’t got rid of me yet.’’

Sam – who’s drawn ‘‘musical theatre’’ – has been honing her kicks and, er, jazz hands with practice partner Chelsea Willis. She’s ‘‘learned what flexibility means’’ and raised more than $4000. We’re also told her fellow contestant Jaimie Abbott has put in the hours on the boards.

The 12 contestants will dance off from 7.30pm tomorrow at Wests New Lambton. Tickets are $55. To donate, visit doitforcancerm.au, go to ‘‘search for a fundraiser’’ and type ‘‘Samantha Newman’’.

Zachary Garred, Yasser Hamed, and Sam Eather.

THERE’S a new cool group we want in on: the Newcastle Hollywood Mafia.

The NHM formed when the people behind Newcastle indie flick Love Is Now met in LA with former US soap star Zachary Garred, of New Lambton.

‘‘Through the University of Newcastle we met with a Novocastrian named Yasser Hamed, who is a senior technical director at Disney and works on their animated features,’’ says Love Is Now producer Sam Eather.

‘‘We had a great day on the Disney lot and even got some sneak peeks at upcoming Disney films.’’

Love Is Now just won best foreign feature at the Arizona International Film Festival, its second such gong on the US circuit. It’s welcome news for Eather, whose Merewether apartment lost its roof in the storm.

He and director Jim Lounsbury are now at the Newport Beach International Film Festival (screening alongside the likes of The Water Diviner, The Little Death and Paper Planes) before heading to Europe in July.

Danny Buderus being clobbered by a branch.

A DANNY Buderus billboard is normally reassuring, directing punters to the finest in meats and new and used cars. But this (pictured) on Brunker Road, is a bit unsettling.

Maybe it’s the fact that the former Knights skipper, this time spruiking the Lake Macquarie Private emergency department, has been clobbered over the head with a tree branch. Then again, it kind of works for the ad.

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