Consumer Advisory Panel

Clinical trials are an important element of the cancer journey for cancer patients, but there are issues that require clarification for cancer consumers. Broadly, clinical trials are research studies conducted on human volunteers that are designed to answer specific scientific questions that may lead to prevention, better diagnosis and development of therapies to treat many cancers. The ANZUP Consumer Advisory Panel (CAP) provides a mechanism for advice to be offered on specific studies, general research directions, and priorities from a consumer perspective. The CAP also provides a conduit for communication from ANZUP back to the community in order to promote research and engage community support.

Belinda Jago

I have spent my professional working life predominantly in the human resources field after completing a Bachelor of Business in 1981. I joined the ANZ Banking Group as a graduate spending the next 12 years working in a variety of operational and strategic HR roles. After a short career break to raise a family of 3, I returned to full time work in 1999 in various HR management roles within the Finance and IT sector. In 2004 I joined Active Display Group specialists in retail point of sale design & manufacture as the Employee Strategy & Policy Director with special interests in acquisitions and restructuring. Life changed in 2006 when my daughter was diagnosed with kidney cancer at the age of 13 and after 5 years of challenging treatments and living life to the fullest she died at the age of 19. Volunteering with ANZUP since 2012 has been a valuable opportunity for me to share the knowledge and skills that I acquired from our family’s experience and to pursue my passion to try and help improve outcomes for other cancer patients, their carer's and families through my particular interests in clinical trial research, kidney cancer and Adolescent & Young Adult (AYA) cancers.

Ray Allen
Deputy Chair

I am in my 60’s, and have moved on from my working career. I don’t use the word retired and prefer to describe myself as ‘getting on with life’. I’ve spent almost my entire working career in the commercial property industry with the last 20 years in property related investment banking and funds management. I have resisted all invitations to ‘suit-up’ and return to the boardroom. There’s so much else to be done. I ascribe to a doctrine of enabling. I’m a very keen follower of the performing arts, with a particular leaning to opera and classical music. With my personal commitment to engaging youth with opera I assist the students and staff of a regional Conservatorium of Music to stage an annual, full opera production involving young people. A few years back, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer and subsequently had a radical prostatectomy. That’s certainly a life changer and so far so good. I don't shy away from talking about the disease, its diagnosis, consequences, and management. My involvement over the past few years with ANZUP has been a great opportunity to channel my experience to help others and to increase community awareness and encourage participation in valuable clinical trials.

Joe Esposito

Mr Joe Esposito is a Melbourne director who has recently established a BOQ (Bank of Queensland) Owner - Manager Bank branch in the inner city suburb of Collingwood. Prior to this was a management consultant and had over 20 years in corporate banking in Australia and New Zealand. He was also CEO of ASX listed Jetset Travelworld Limited between 2003 and 2006. Mr Esposito has a close affinity with the objectives of ANZUP and the needs of consumers. He has Bachelor of Commerce and Master of Applied Finance degrees. He is a graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Jason Gray

I live on a few beautiful acres at Clifton Beach just outside of Hobart with my wife Dana and our son Harry. I am currently finishing my degree in Medicine at the University of Tasmania after a career in software development. In 2003 I was diagnosed with testicular cancer. The surreal experiences that began with surgery and radiotherapy played out through all my relationships as my friends, family and work colleagues all went along for the ride. Apart from the checkups I put the experience behind me and moved on. In 2005 the cancer returned and my life was turned upside down with chemotherapy over the following months. The Peter Mac centre offered wonderful support over the years and I particularly enjoyed being involved in a DVD about life after treatment as well as a few other media events. I am a Cancer Connect phone support volunteer and now as a medical student I really enjoy being connected to patients in my professional life. Evidence based approaches are critical to successful healthcare and I fully support the work that ANZUP are doing. I believe that I can make a positive contribution to ANZUP as a patient advocate with personal experience in all the major modalities of treatment.

Alastair McKendrick 

I am a 59 year old qualified accountant, married with two sons in their early/mid 20s. I have a full time executive role as Group Finance Director of the Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation. My kidney cancer was first diagnosed in 2004 and resulted in the full removal of one on my kidneys. I recovered well from that and was reasonably healthy until 2009 when I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Testing showed that the cancer was aggressive and consequently I underwent surgery for a full removal. In 2012, my routine check-ups revealed that the renal cancer had returned and spread to other parts of my body. Since then I have been taking Pazopanib which seems to have held the cancer in check and I continue to live a reasonably normal life (barring the annoying side effects of the treatment!) Breast cancer has also impacted the female side of my family (both my mother and sister). I am keen to be involved in ANZUP. Whilst I haven’t been involved in a trial, I believe that the work that is being done across the spectrum of cancers is inspiring and I would like to make whatever contribution I can to helping the organisation achieve its goals.

Colin O'Brien

Colin O’Brien was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2005 and since that time has been actively involved as a consumer advocate with numerous cancer committees that include Cancer Voices Victoria, the Victorian government’s Department of Health Cancer Quality Outcomes Committee, Victorian Prostate registry and Cancer Vic cancer registry. He has 35 years experience in small business as owner and a state and national level representing Australia’s largest network of small business providers. He has a particular interest in improved benchmarking regarding the treatment, care and outcomes for cancer patients as they journey through the health care system. His passions include sharing a good meal and wine with family and friends, his grandson (more grandchildren would be good), travel and mountain biking...fresh air, a coffee and cake shared with others offering a nice reward. Currently Colin works with rural based farms and related businesses in Victoria to help them adjust and/or transition as they face ever changing economic, policy and climate change events.

Tony Sonneveld

Tony Sonneveld passed away peacefully on Sunday 13 November.  

Tony joined the Consumer Advisory Panel in 2012 and has been a tireless advocate for ANZUP, promoting prostate cancer awareness, education and fundraising for support and research.

Our sincere thanks go to Tony for his contribution and support over the years. He will be greatly missed and we are grateful for all that he gave. 

Peter Standford

I was born in 1937 and educated at Barker College. I have spent most of my working life in middle management. My first wife died when I was 53 and I subsequently remarried an old family friend and we have now been married 22 years. In 2009 I had my bladder removed at the age of 72. The several consequences of this operation and the change in lifestyle were quite devastating to me as I had been very fit and active up to this stage. A turning point came when I attended the Cancer Support Group at the San Hospital. The information and support gained there have given me the confidence I needed to not only assist in running the group but to take a leadership course to enable me to help others. This is a very rewarding activity. My life is once again full and active with a large family and interests in a Historical Society and church bushwalking group. I also make (and sell) hand bound artists books and assist my wife who is a recognised textile artist.

Matt Leonard

I was diagnosed with testicular cancer at a young age of 22. My lunchtime visit to the doctor led to an ultrasound which was quickly followed by an appointment with an Oncologist within the same afternoon. By 3pm I was told I had testicular cancer and that tomorrow I had to return at 9am to have the testicle removed. After chemo treatment a large Teratoma/benign tumour mass was discovered not to have shrunk during the chemo and it was decided that the best option was to have my retroperitoneal lymph nodes in my back removed then I was on my way in what has now become 10 years of remission. It took many years to even feel like myself again, I struggled physically and mentally to get my life back on track. One of the biggest challenges mentally for me was being a huge family man that the risk of having the RPLND operation was becoming infertile through retrograde ejaculation. 10 years later I still have experiences off and on. I managed to land my dream job and have done so for the past 6 years as a Firefighter here in Auckland city. I am now with a beautiful new partner of 3 years who is studying medicine.

Les Land

I worked originally in the public service before joining the motor industry. I was employed in management positions with Ford Motor Company, Alto Ford and BMW, Sundell Group and Hornsby Honda.. I’m now fully retired. In about January 2010 I went to my GP with a sore left shoulder blade. Tests revealed a nasty in the kidney area. I was referred a urologist, had a biopsy and the same procedure carried out some 5 months later. Dr Coombes, the Surgeon then removed my left kidney as the biopsy had shown growth and was deemed cancerous. Dr Coombes referred me to Martin Stockler who put me into the Sorefanib trial program. I stayed with the medication for the full 3 years with a few ups and downs with side effects. I still attend every 6 months for blood tests, chest x rays or whatever the protocol dictates. I started the trail frrom a selfish point view knowing they’d look after me extremely well. The more I got involved the more I thought about other people who might be diagnosed just like me, perhaps someone 30 years of age with a couple of children, I’m glad that I might have now helped them.

John Stubbs

John is a ten year plus Bone Marrow Transplant survivor for Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia. He is a vocal advocate for cancer patients in Australia, using his knowledge and skills to ensure better outcomes for patients, their families and carers. He was enrolled in a clinical trial during his treatment. He is a regular speaker at medical conferences, seminars on cancer advocacy, clinical trials and health related issues. John holds a number of Government positions at both Board and committee level and was recently appointed an Honorary Associate, Faculty of Medicine, University of Sydney for his work in clinical trials through the NHMRC clinical trials centre.
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