Consumer Advisory Panel

CAP 2016
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

Chair
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 based director who has recently established a business consultancy practice, Grumentum Capital Pty Ltd. For 8 years until 2020, he owned and operated a BOQ (Bank of Queensland) branch in the inner city suburb of Collingwood. He has had over 20 years experience in corporate banking in Australia and New Zealand. Between 2003 and 2006 he was the CEO of ASX listed Jetset Travelworld Limited.

Mr Esposito has a close affinity with the objectives of ANZUP and the needs of cancer consumers. His qualifications include a Bachelor of Commerce, a Master of Applied Finance and a Diploma in Finance and Mortgage Management. He is a graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
 

Leonie Young 

Leonie Young has been a member of the ANZUP CAP since 2017 and a supporter and mentor for the CAP since 2012. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1987 and through her family, has personal experience and understanding of other cancers including prostate cancer.

Since her diagnosis she has been involved with many aspects of cancer consumer advocacy, support, training, and mentoring and contributes in numerous research initiatives as an experienced consumer representative with researchers both nationally and internationally. She regularly presents at conferences concerning topics relating to the lived experience.

She is the Peer Support Coordinator for the Wesley Hospital Choices Cancer Support Centre (Choices) in Brisbane and an inaugural member and immediate past Chair of the Breast Cancer Trials Consumer Advisory Panel.

Leonie is the recipient of an Honorary Degree of Doctor of the University, Griffith University, Brisbane and the Reach to Recovery International Terese Lasser Award both in recognition of distinguished service to the community, particularly as an advocate for people diagnosed with cancer.
 
   

Colin O'Brien

Colin O’Brien was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2005 and since then has been actively involved as a consumer advocate with numerous cancer committees that include the Victorian government’s Department of Health Cancer Quality Outcomes Committee, Prostate Cancer Outcomes Registry Steering Committee and Cancer Vic Cancer Registry. He has 40 years-experience in small business as an owner, business advisor, workshop developer and presenter, and as EO of Australia’s largest network of small business providers. He has a strong interest in improved benchmarking regarding the treatment, care and outcomes for cancer patients as they journey through the health care system. Taking time out from his business he has completed small business volunteer assignments in Thailand, Solomon Islands, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and Bali, Indonesia. Passions include sharing a good meal and wine with family and friends, travel (in particular Canada) and competitive mountain biking.

Matt Leonard

Matt was diagnosed with testicular cancer at the young age of 22. His 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 he was told he had testicular cancer and the next day he would have to return at 9am to have the testicle removed. After chemotherapy treatment a large teratoma/benign tumour mass was discovered not to have shrunk during the chemotherapy and it was decided that the best option was to have his retroperitoneal lymph nodes in his back removed. He then began his recovery and has now been in remission for over 15 years. It took many years to even feel like himself again. He struggled physically and mentally to get his life back on track. Matt said that one of the biggest challenges mentally was being a huge family man and the risk of having the RPLND operation was becoming infertile through retrograde ejaculation. Sixteen years later he still has experiences off and on. He managed to land his dream job and has been a Station Officer (firefighter) for Fire and Emergency for over 10 years. His beautiful wife is now a doctor working at Waikato Hospital in Hamilton (NZ). 

Les Land

I worked originally in the public service before joining the motor industry and was employed in management positions. I’m now fully retired. In about January 2010 I went to my GP with a sore left shoulder blade. Tests revealed something in the kidney area. I was referred to 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 attended every 6 months for blood tests, chest x rays or whatever the protocol dictated until the trial closed. I started the trial from a selfish point of 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 am glad that I might have now helped them.
 

Melissa Le Mesurier

Melissa Le Mesurier, originally trained as a journalist, has 25 years’ experience as a senior corporate affairs executive with blue-chip organisations such as Medibank, Kraft/Cadbury, Foster’s Group and Australian Airlines. She is currently the Principal of MLM Consulting which advises executives and boards on strategy, reputation, cultural change and communications. Both professionally and personally, Melissa is passionate about medical research, consumer engagement and patient empowerment – something sparked when her (now adult) son was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis in 1996 and strengthened when she was diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2017.

She is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a Director of the Lung Foundation Australia. She was previously a member of the Alfred Hospital’s CF Consumer Advisory Panel and founding Chair of the Royal Children’s Hospital Cystic Fibrosis Research Trust (1999-2009) which has raised more than $3m for research and funded about 20 clinical fellows.

 

Michael Twycross

Michael is in his late 50’s, lives in Victoria, is married with 3 adult children and 5 grandchildren. He has a trade background and 20 years of experience managing the local office of an industrial electronics equipment supply company. Life was about family, running, work and the motor sport club. Michael was quite healthy until his diagnosis with advanced bladder cancer in January 2017. It was only a few weeks from the initial tell-tale signs of disease to his diagnosis and then treatment. Priorities have changed a little in the past few years with family becoming his number one focus. He spends more time now with family, has enjoyed a few holidays post treatment (to NZ, SA, WA to name a few). Michael has a renewed focus on improving his fitness, post treatment - which hopefully will assist with fending off any recurrence of cancer. Running a 100km trail run on the Victorian surf coast had been his goal for 2017. He was able to complete an endurance challenge in 2018.
Being part of an ongoing bladder cancer trial also opened up a new avenue of interest, and opportunities to make a difference. Michael has been able to raise funds in support of the work ANZUP does to improve outcomes. He was introduced to ANZUP by his clinical trials nurse and even though he wasn’t on an ANZUP trial, he understood what this dynamic organisation was aiming to achieve. He had no idea what he could contribute to the CAP when nominated, and at some meetings he still wonders! Michael hopes to contribute for a long time to come and to help encourage more bladder cancer research and trial development through his participation at ANZUP.
 
 
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