Grace Gawler Milestones – Celebrating 45 years of effective cancer service…
Who is Grace Gawler?
Grace is recognised for:
• Creating New Paradigms in Cancer Care…
• The first Breast cancer emotional and psychological support programs in Australia & NZ
• Receiving the inaugural Rotary International Jean Harris award Aust & South Pacific for breast cancer and women’s health
• Pioneering Patient Advocacy & Cancer Navigation for rare cancers Australia & NZ
• Helping patients to safely Navigate the Complex Cancer Maze…
• Helping patients access state-of-the-art medical cancer treatments locally & overseas…
Having been a carer and a patient who has undergone 28 surgical procedures since 1997, Grace Gawler is well-practised in the Art of Survivorship and sets a benchmark of excellence for the Grace Gawler Institute for Cancer Survivorship and Research. It is her passion, experience and personal compassion that is the reason why the Grace Gawler Institute exists.
Brief outline of Grace Gawler’s Cancer Service Milestones:
1. 1970 – Background – Mentored by Dr Daryl Sefton veterinary Surgeon – Veterinary pharmacology, anatomy and physiology, surgical assistant and pathology including animal autopsies
2. 1975 – Working towards University to study Veterinary Science.
Then – 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.
3. 1980 Grace Co-founded the Melbourne Cancer Support Group the Australian Cancer Patients Foundation and inspired and cofounded The Gawler Foundation – Yarra Valley Living Centre -Yarra Junction Victoria (1985) – a not for profit organisation.
4. 1980’s established as a pioneer in the field of supportive care cancer medicine, patient advocacy & navigation, CAM & cancer.
5. 1979-86 Graduate of Dorothy Hall College, Sydney at distinction level – Botanical sciences, nutrition, differential diagnosis Dip. anatomy, physiology, chemistry, pathology, biological sciences. (QINS)
6. 1978 – 1984 Four children born– busy years!
7. Created Australia’s first gender specific cancer support groups and residential courses for women with cancer and breast cancer.
8. 1994 First book published Women of Silence – reprinted UK 2003. Also published in Dutch. A best seller of its genre – 35 national Radio Interviews within Australia 2 weeks after release. Remains the first and only book published on this subject.
9. 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, representing the Liberal Party.
10. 1994/5 New Zealand– promotes and leads first residential programs for women with cancer & breast cancer – Auckland. (Lectures, radio & print media NZ)
11. 1996 – Resigns Gawler Foundation – due to personal COI and changing direction from the original work and passionate to see it continue, Grace Establishes Ellimatta women’s health, a specific ‘safe’ practice specialising in Women’s Health. A breast cancer researcher into the Practice to study impact of the service. Prof Candace Pert (USA) visited the practice and was impressed by results being achieved.
Trains in New York with Dr Ilana Rubenfeld USA (RSM TM) – body Psychotherapy developing a new model for stress reduction; Name and supported by Dr Rubenfeld.
12. 1997 – Marriage separation. Surgery – hysterectomy a routine surgical procedure had complications and a major health crisis ensued. Permanent interruption to nerve supply in colon after surgery causing megacolon and obstructions from 1997 – 2000. Many surgical procedures.
13. 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
14. Media: Regular media presentations Australia – national radio, television – Health segment – Denise Channel 7, work is published in popular print media interviews including The Bulletin, Who Weekly, Women’s Weekly, Woman’s Day, Nature & Health etc…
15. 2000: Ongoing health crisis: massive colonic impaction & associated issues. Surgical Removal of 152 cm large colon and 152 cm small intestine – then failed ileostomies, colostomies and a poor prognosis, Grace undergoes experimental “bionic” surgery in The Netherlands (2002 – 2003), necessitating her to stay for a long period– A world first procedure for her condition, monitoring was essential.
16. 2003 – The Netherlands–After recovery, promotes & leads first residential programs for women with breast cancer. Support groups, seminars and workshops.
17. 2002-2003 BBC radio interviews throughout the UK including Libby Purves – BBC London (4 million listeners). Gives 2nd Penny Brohn memorial Lecture – London.
18. Works with London and Hereford Haven Trusts – Staff training, Keynote Speaker, workshop presenter, The Helen Rollason HEAL trust- Chelmsford Essex – Keynote Speaker, workshops presenter, Bristol Cancer Help Centre (now the Penny Brohn Centre) Keynote lectures, workshops.
19. 2004 – return to Australia. Settled in Brisbane– founded The Australian College of Supportive Care Medicine (2005) and a practitioner MASTERCLASS – an innovative course that trained healthcare professionals in Supportive Care Medicine.
20. 2005-2007 added emphasis to promoting health, wellness and life quality, encouraging people to find their innate spark – Focus – Using lessons learned from illness to promote wellness.
20. Member of and writer for Spa Asia and many other health journals.
21. Presents Keynotes & Workshops at major Health Summits, Introduces her work and stress reduction methods to the global Spa industry.
22. Invited to the advisory board of The International journal “Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice” – published online (Elsevier Science Direct) and in print
23. Articles published The British Medical Associations “Holistic Health” Journal.
24. 2005 assisted the Reiki Professional Standards Team with compiling a training module: Providing Services for People with a Life Challenging Illness (module HLTCOM509A). The module has now been included as an elective in a number of qualifications included in the Health Training Package for use nationally.
25. 2008 – became Patron for Reiki Australia.
26. 2010 – Published in Medical Journal of Australia on importance of accuracy of cancer stand reviewed in Australian Doctor
27. 2010 – Established the Grace Gawler Institute for Integrated Cancer Solutions– A not for profit health promotion charity. The charity was gifted by a breast cancer patient and costs covered by a grateful recovered patient who wanted Grace’s valuable work to proceed. The establishment of the Grace Gawler Institute as a NFP was in line with her previous work and has enabled expansion of cancer patient services. An Additional service for male patients dealing with the impacts of prostate cancer, emotional health services with partner Pip Cornall.
28. 2011 – For patient accessibility, converts her publications to eBook format for global access.
29. 2012 August: GGI Website discovered on the internet by a USA based Internet radio show- Voice America. Grace was invited to host weekly live internet radio show called “Navigating the Cancer Maze”. The show was sponsored for GGI and very popular with well-prepared interviews with cancer patients, oncologists, celebrities with cancer, doctors and cancer researchers.
30. After 2.5 years Grace and Pip created their own Australian pod cast website for the Grace Gawler Institute, ‘Navigating the Cancer Maze Australia,’ where Grace hosts interviews with Australian and international cancer researchers and clinical oncologists along with inspiring patient stories and more.
31. 2012, Grace and Pip were invited to lead medical tours to an innovative private oncology hospital in Germany in association with a leading German university hospital. After three years of coordinating patients travel to Germany ceased, but excellent professional relationships were maintained with a number of clinical Professors and Hospitals where international patients can be still be referred.
32. 2014 In cooperation with a specialist GP Grace establishes a part-time practice on the Gold Coast, Qld. The addition of services of the specialist GP, whose forte was mental health and depression lent a huge contribution for GGI patients.
33. New Model of Care for GPS: Public & Professional Community Service project. Presented to the Gold Coast Medical association educating them about alternative medicine practises adopted by cancer patients. Theme – “Where patient self-prescription causes self-harm”. Alternative Medicine Rescue was a part of this awareness program. Project is ongoing.
34. 2016 the specialist GP in his 70’s retired.
35. Mid 2016 – via research and contact; strong collaborations were established with leading oncologists, surgeons, immunologists and hospitals in neighbouring Asia. State of the art treatments not available in Australia, for example Proton Beam Therapy, were now accessible for patients without treatment options in Australia.
36. The new Grace Gawler Institute initiatives extended the outreach of services. Many patients achieved significant life extension and optimal Health Restoration Outcomes. Important milestone: Patients with rare or difficult to treat cancers now had extended options not known previously.
37. July 2016 Grace & Pip married.
38. September 2016 – Additional new service established – Brain Cancer without Borders – a specific service working with an alliance of leading brain cancer specialist – nationally & internationally to improve treatments and access to treatments for people diagnosed with brain tumours. Project is ongoing.
39. December 2017 – The Grace Gawler Institute & the Genomic diagnostics era. A further extension into personalised cancer medicine with some oncologists and GPs now able to refer GGI patients for genomic testing with a Brisbane-based registered pathology laboratory.
40. June 2018 – Due to GGI’s Research and Development; the global alliance of leading cancer specialists continues to expand – more patients can be treated with proven targeted treatments overseas – Desperate patients and families told there is nothing more we can do-can access treatments.
*Sept 2018 – Official Name Change for the Grace Gawler Institute for Integrated Cancer solutions – changed to The Grace Gawler Institute for Cancer Survivorship and Research.
*The inclusion of ‘Survivorship,’ in the new name better reflect our aim.
*The inclusion of ‘Research’ in the new name also reflects the thousands of hours of research past and present dedicated to the purpose of helping patients to more effectively navigate the Cancer Maze.
41. Jan 2019 – Due to travel, extensive research and many months of sophisticated medical dialogues combined with dogged persistence and high level Australian Govt diplomatic assistance, on behalf of GGI, Grace liaises with an Asian university and hospital who accepts a brain cancer patient into the world’s most advanced treatment for brain cancer – BNCT. The First Australian patient.
42. March 2019 – Sponsored Travel – visit to Singapore and Taiwan.
Singapore: Tours of collegiate hospitals in Singapore and visits with radiation oncologists, surgeons, oncologist strengthen personalised cancer treatment options. Great interest in GGI training programs using Supportive Care Model.
43. Taiwan – Hospital visit and tour. University radiation oncology tour: witnessed two BNCT procedures with this very promising new treatment technique using neutrons.
Taiwan – Afternoon discussion with a Professor Biological Science and Technology re immune modulating research – 18 years studying medicinal mushrooms. Meetings with producers and researchers of safe functional foods suitable to be used in conjunction with cancer treatments to improve quality of life and well-being for cancer patients. Research was discussed and in the pipeline for the future.
44. Nov 2019 – Milestone: Grace accrues 45 years of cancer service. To date Grace has advised, supported-guided and navigated over 20,000 people affected by cancer during this time span.
45. Jan 2020 – Based on research for GGI, Grace explores new treatments and clinical trials within Australia for patients who cannot travel overseas. Forges strong professional relationships – patient referrals to specialist and centres of excellence steadily building.
Jan 2020 – enter COVID-19. A global game-changer. GGI successfully meets the challenge to source best treatment options for our patients due to suspension of overseas referrals.