About Grace Gawler

The Institute’s Founder & Director is Grace Gawler.

Grace Gawler DHM (dist) DBSc ATMS Mem IPOS….

Grace Gawler’s profiles can be found on Researchgate.net and Academia.edu Grace is a member of the International Psycho-Oncology Society (IPOS). With 45 years’ experience, Grace works across multiple cancer disciplines focusing on QoL and well-being for cancer patients. Simply put; her expertise is in helping patients to navigate the increasingly complex cancer maze.

Grace inspired and co-founded Australia’s first Cancer Support Groups in the early 1980’s and the Gawler Foundation. Currently she is founder/director of the Grace Gawler Institute based in Queensland Australia. She specialises in providing patients with cancer navigation and Survivorship care plans. As well; Grace assists patients who fail alternative cancer medicine and shepherds them back into conventional medicine with empathetic doctors and oncologists.

Helping patients to safely navigate the increasingly complex cancer maze

As a published author and social commentator on Alternative Medicine & Cancer, Grace emphasises accurate reporting in the media of cancer remission stories.

Indeed, Grace champions fact checking; encouraging patients and doctors to carefully discern alternative medicine cancer cure claims from fiction.

Grace is published in the Medical Journal of Australia, September 2010. Her article corrected numerous timeline errors and inaccuracies in a high profile Australian cancer patient recovery story that she was personally involved with. 

A follow up case review of Grace’s MJA letter was published in the Internal Medicine Journal (IMJ) in 2012. The review was authored by respected oncologists, Professors Haines and Lowenthal. 

More recently Grace contributed to the Beau Donnelly/Nick Toscani book about Belle Gibson called “The Woman who Changed the World”.

Grace's patients benefit from her 45 years cancer experience and ongoing close collaborations with some of the best cancer minds in the world.

Grace Gawler – Qualifications, Training & Experience.The Grace Gawler Institute

Currently: Therapeutic director at the Grace Gawler Institute for Cancer Survivorship and Research:
Background – Mentored from age 15 by Dr Daryl Sefton veterinary surgeon in veterinary pharmacology, anatomy and physiology, surgical assistant and pathology including animal autopsies Working towards university to study Veterinary Science. 
Aged 21, Grace became sole carer of a critically ill cancer patient with bone cancer (1974) who became an amputee. Given a poor prognosis, Grace developed an inquiring and compassionate standard of care. 
Following on from personal experience and noticing first-hand, huge gaps in the standard of care in terms of support for Patients and Carers, it was at this time, Grace pioneered Cancer support initiatives and Cancer Navigation Services.  The Cancer Council later adopted the support group models. (refer to Milestones). This experience forms the basis of Grace Gawler.

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1979-86 Graduate of Dorothy Hall College, Sydney at distinction level – Botanical sciences, nutrition, differential diagnosis, counselling Dip. anatomy, physiology, chemistry, pathology, biological sciences. (QINS). Extra 2 years study anatomy and physiology

Lectures attended – Hilton Head Island South Carolina – USA National institute for the Clinical application of Behavioural Medicine (NICABM).

Post Workshop Training intensives attended– Hilton Head Island South Carolina – USA National institute for the Clinical application of Behavioural Medicine (NICABM).

1992

  • Jon Kabat-Zinn PHD: Integrating Mindfulness into Behavioural Medicine (1)
  • Lawrence LeShan PhD: Author: Cancer as a Turning Point.  (1)
  • David Lee-MEd LSAC – therapeutic storytelling

1993

  • Dr Emmett Millar – visualisation methods to assist patients
  • Ernest Rossi PhD – The Psychobiology of Hypnotherapy (Ericksonian Hypnotherapy)
  • Ilana Rubenfeld – introduction to Rubenfeld Synergy Method (RSM TM)
  • Lawrence LeShan PhD: Author: Cancer as a Turning Point. Beyond technique: The Nature of Healing in a Therapeutic Relationship (2)

  1994

  • Dr Emmett Millar – 2nd training: visualisation methods to assist patients
  • Ilana Rubenfeld Art of Self Care (2)
  • Jon Kabat-Zinn PHD. Integrating Mindfulness into Behavioural Medicine (2)
  • Lawrence LeShan PhD: Author: Cancer as a Turning Point. (3)
  • David Lee-MEd LSAC – therapeutic storytelling – use of metaphors to assist emotional, psychological and behavioural change.

 1995

Commence 3 x year intensive training New York: with Dr Ilana Rubenfeld USA (RSM TM) – Body Psychotherapy for 2 years.  Incorporates Alexander technique, Feldenkrais, the work of F&L Perls (Germany), Gestalt, the neuropsychology, psychotherapy and other techniques to help patients integrate mind and body and deal with effects of trauma.

Further workshop/studies – David Lee MEd LSAC
Ericksonian Hypnotherapy – Therapeutic Language
Ericksonian Hypnotherapy – Therapeutic Language – Dr Rob McNeilly

Awards and special mentions:

  1. 1998 – In recognition of her unique contribution to breast cancer & women’s health Grace receives the inaugural Rotary International Jean Harris Award for services to Women’s Health–Australia & South Pacific Region
  2. Government: Invited member by the Hon Marie Tehan, Minister for Health (Vic) to join the new Ministerial Advisory Committee for Women’s Health Victorian Government Complementary Medicine (1996-9). Committee was chaired by Dame Margaret Guilfoyle, AC, DBE a former Australian politician who served as a Senator for Victoria from 1971 to 1987.

Medical:

  • 1997 The first complementary and Supportive care medicine practitioner to present a Grand Round Lecture – Austin Hospital, Melbourne
  • 2005 Invited to the advisory board of The International journal “Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice” – online (Elsevier Science Direct) and print media
  • Published the British Medical Associations “Holistic Health” Journal.
  • 2005 Birmingham UK – EuropeanAssociation for Cancer Education (EACE) Scientific Key Presentation – Research on a therapeutic breast cancer support group model
    2010 Published in Medical Journal of Australia on importance of accuracy of cancer stand reviewed in Australian Doctor.

Association: Member of the International Psycho-Oncology Society

Grace Gawler's Experience as a Patient

Grace on Walking the Talk: “When patients learn about my personal recovery story they are inspired and motivated. They gain an understanding of the dogged persistence required to successfully navigate the medical maze. When they become aware that since 1997, I’ve undergone 23 gynaecological and colon surgeries – 6 of which were overseas; they know I have walked the talk regarding overseas treatments. “ 

PODCAST – click here for BBC UK Interview – Grace explains her world first procedure

Firsthand experience seeking overseas treatment: Grace Gawler knows what it like to be a patient with a life-challenging condition who has fallen through gaps in the medical system. A paralysed rectum following a routine surgery in 1997 was to change her life drastically.

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In 2002-03, with just one Australian physician supporting her decision to seek an experimental treatment developed in the Netherlands, (15 others did not support her decision); she left Australian to seek her recovery. Her experimental surgery involved a long stay in Rotterdam.

The procedure involved surgically implanting a bionic device and electrodes in her lower back and buttock; designed to mimic the nerve supply that had been lost. Not tried before for her condition, it was successful and a world first! The device still pulses at 6 volts 24-7 and is responsible for Grace getting her life back; ending years of colon surgeries and failing ileostomy procedures.

The battery operated device needs to be replaced approximately every 3-4 years. So far Grace has undergone 28 surgical procedure since 1997.

The procedure is now performed in Singapore but still not available in Australia.

The Grace Gawler Institute
Grace with Dutch Surgeon & Physiotherapist - Netherlands 2003
Grace & Pip with Surgeon in Singapore

The Global Health and Travel article (PDF format below) features Grace & her surgeon, Dr Lim Jit Fong, discussing her surgery in Singapore. Note: use magnifier + or – to enlarge PDF etc.

Lim Jit and GG – Global Health and Travel_A Return to Normalcy_Pg 44-45

Trusted Cancer Navigation 

You don’t have to go it alone!

Every ship needs a navigator to guide them through treacherous waters. Your Survivor-Ship is no different. Your cancer diagnosis requires you to sail in uncharted waters. You can trust a cancer navigator with 45 years’ experience who has chartered the way forward for thousands of patients before you.

The Grace Gawler Institute offers various levels of cancer navigation services.
We suggest beginning with a video call to ascertain your needs and explore how we can best help you.