TBCG 6th Awareness Raising Event. A huge success
August 24, 2023
The Brain Cancer Group (TBCG), in partnership with the Brain Tumour Alliance Australia (BTAA), hosted its 6th Annual Awareness Raising Event on Tuesday, August 22, at the NSW Parliament House. This event was kindly hosted by the Hon. Sophie Cotsis MP, the NSW Minister for Industrial Relations, Work Health and Safety. This awareness raising event aims to educate, advocate, and foster unity among patients, caregivers, medical specialists, and community leaders. We come together to acknowledge the profound impact of brain cancer has on individuals and their families and that more needs to be done.
Open to the public, the event commenced with a warm gathering at the Fountain Court, where attendees enjoyed light refreshments before moving into the Theatrette for the official proceedings.
Dr. Adrian Lee, Director of The Brain Cancer Group and convenor of the event, extended his gratitude to Hon. Sophie Cotsis MP for her unwavering support, dating back to 2016 when she graciously invited the group to hold their awareness raising event at Parliament. He expressed his appreciation to all present and acknowledging esteemed guests including the Hon. Ryan Park, NSW Minister for Health and Minister for Regional Health; Zoë Baker, Mayor of North Sydney; Carolyn Corrigan, Mayor of Mosman, and representatives from BTAA, such as Catherine Hindson, former Chairperson and current Vice-Chair.
As parliamentary host, Ms. Cotsis extended a warm welcome to all attendees and commended Suzane Peponis-Brisimis, Director of TBCG and Founder of the White Pearl Foundation. The White Pearl Foundation is instrumental in raising funds for The Brain Cancer Group's vital research program. Ms. Cotsis applauded Suzane's tireless work and her "strong advocacy." Ms Cotsis emphasized the tremendous challenges faced by healthcare professionals in their pursuit of giving patients a second chance at life, much like the opportunity she herself received five years ago when diagnosed with breast cancer.
Subsequently, the Hon. Ryan Park, NSW Minister for Health, delved into the government's pivotal role in cancer care and research. He expressed that brain cancer is a policy priority for NSW and also highlighted the urgency of advancing research on rare, often lethal cancers that profoundly affect individuals. Mr. Park's presence underscored the government's steadfast commitment to supporting cancer research.
The event's keynote speakers, Jess Hill and her husband David Hollier, delivered a deeply moving account of their personal journey as a patient and caregiver. The candid sharing was incredibly engaging and had everyone completely captivated. Ms. Hill, an award-winning journalist, author, and ten-year survivor of brain cancer, recalled her diagnosis in 2012 while serving as a Middle East correspondent for The Global Mail. She vividly described the physical and emotional toll of her journey, from her first seizure aboard a flight to her successful surgery, and the resurgence of her tumor in 2020, just three years after the birth of her daughter. Today, Ms. Hill faces her last round of chemotherapy with courage and resilience.
Mr. Hollier, a Psychotherapist and counsellor, offered his unique perspective on their shared journey, emphasizing the importance of personal narratives and beliefs in navigating such challenges. He explained, "There are facts and then there's the way we interpret them and what we need to believe is possible." His insights resonated with the audience, and he concluded with a heartfelt message to lean on the support of friends and family.
Guest speaker Associate Professor Haryana Dhillon, from the University of Sydney and Scientific Advisory Committee Chair of Psycho-oncology Co-operative Research Group (PoCoG), delivered an informative lecture on the BRAINS (Brain Cancer Rehabilitation, Assessment, Interventions for Survivorship Needs) portal. This valuable resource aims to offer support and foster positive change for individuals affected by brain cancer. Professor Dhillon shared insights into how the portal identifies service gaps, provides information to patients, professionals, and caregivers, and addresses the cognitive, emotional, and physical effects of brain cancer.
Concluding the event, Associate Professor Michael Back, a radiation oncologist and Director of TBCG, extended heartfelt thanks to all attendees for their support and participation in this impactful awareness-raising event.
The successful event culminated with attendees enjoying refreshments in the Theatrette foyer, fostering connections, and continuing the vital conversation around brain cancer awareness and research.
The event’s presentations are available at the Brain Cancer Group’s website as well as their YouTube Channel. https://youtu.be/6-wNJuGuSZw