Speakers and topics

We are delighted to announce that we have a line-up of expert speakers covering a wide range of topics relevant to New Zealanders living with a blood cancer or blood condition.

Jake Bailey

Jake Bailey is a full-time speaker, the youngest #1 bestselling author in New Zealand history, and a passionate educator on the power of resilience.

Jake first caused a global sensation in 2015, when his speech as Head Boy at Christchurch Boys High School’s prize-giving ceremony went viral. A week before he was due to deliver this speech, Jake was diagnosed with Burkitt’s non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, the most aggressive cancer known to man. Given two weeks to live if this was left untreated, Jake persevered through to make his speech from a wheelchair, the video of which went on to touch the hearts of tens of millions and draw support and praise from across the globe.

Since being announced in remission in 2016, Jake has gone on to share his story with tens of thousands of people, through hundreds of speeches across dozens of cities. Working with corporates, organisations, and schools across the globe, Jake has helped audiences ranging from elite athletes to kids in outback towns, Fortune 500 CEO’s to prison inmates, and foreign governments to retirement homes to understand how we can most successfully overcome the challenges and adversity we will all inevitably face in life.

Jake is driven by having himself seen the powerful impact that resilience and perspective has had on his own life both during and post-cancer, and consequently knowing the potential which this trainable and attainable skill could have on the success and happiness of others in life. This passion also led him to create SORTD, an online video-based curriculum of resilience related content for teenagers, in conjunction with his public speaking and writing.

Presentation topic: Young Adult session –focussing on your wellbeing – presenting with Louise Sue

Georgina Barr BA, Dip Journ, BHSc Podiatry

Georgina Barr started her podiatry career in response to the Christchurch earthquakes after working in the arts sector.  Georgina works part time at Merivale Podiatry in Christchurch. She also runs her own business, Barrina Ltd, where she provides a custom pointe shoe fitting service, Juon Pointe Pre Pointe Assessments, lectures on anatomy and biomechanical physiology and engages in dance mentoring.

Georgina is a Podiatry New Zealand member. She is an affiliated committee member of the Christchurch Ballet Society, a Friend of the Royal Academy of Dance, a member of the International Association for Dance Medicine & Science, and she has achieved Gold Standard in the Juon Pointe system. She has published dance and arthritis articles internationally and has presented her original research at international medical conferences.

Presentation topic: Foot damage and peripheral neuropathy – how podiatry can help you self-manage – presenting with Sophie Walls

The effects of blood cancer and leukaemia treatments can include damaged toe nails, thinning skin, increased corns and calluses, and symptoms of peripheral neuropathy. We will discuss strategies to help to manage the impact of these issues on your feet, and your daily life.

Prof. Peter Browett

Peter is a Professor of Pathology and Head of the Department of Molecular Medicine and Pathology at the University of Auckland School of Medicine, Consultant Haematologist at Auckland City Hospital, and Consultant Haematologist at Diagnostic Medlab.  His involvement with Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand stems from his clinical interest in the management of patients with haematological malignancies, including blood cell and bone marrow transplantation. In the laboratory, he has an interest in cell marker and molecular studies in the diagnosis and monitoring of patients with leukaemia, lymphoma and inherited blood disorders. Peter has had a long association with LBC, acting as Medical Director and trustee for many years and more recently joining the LBC’s independent Medical Scientific Committee overseeing research grants.

Presentation topic 1: Latest updates in Chronic Leukaemias
Presentation topic 2: Genes, Genetics and Familial blood cancers – presenting with Ian Morison

Dr Henry Chan

Dr Henry Chan is a consultant clinical and laboratory haematologist at North Shore Hospital and an honorary senior lecturer at the University of Auckland. He is the clinical lead of the Haematology Research Unit at North Shore Hospital and is the principal investigator of multiple international and investigator-led clinical studies. After graduating from the University of Auckland and completing his specialist training in New Zealand, Dr Chan went on to work at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto, Canada, as a clinical fellow. Dr Chan has a strong interest in multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and he has co-authored over 20 publications in these areas to date. He currently serves as the co-chair of the New Zealand Myeloma Interest Group and a trustee in Myeloma New Zealand. He is a member of the Myeloma Scientific Advisory Group for Myeloma Australia and is the recipient of the Rotary Grant for Myeloma Genomic Fellowship at the University of Auckland.

Presentation topic: Updates on Myeloma

Sue Corkill

Sue graduated with a Diploma of Professional Counselling in June 2018. She gained a Post Graduate Diploma in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy from Massey University in 2009. Sue has always had a great interest in supporting cancer patients, their families and friends and helping make a difference. She has had over 30 years as an oncology nurse working in a variety of hospital and community settings including Wellington Haematology and Oncology Centre,  the Cancer Society and Child Cancer Foundation.

Sue is a Provisional Member Registered with New Zealand Association of Counsellors.

Presentation topic: Support person’s talk: Coping when life is full of uncertainty

Dr Richard Doocey

Richard is a clinical haematologist with a specialist interest in malignant haematology including lymphoma, myeloma, leukaemia and haematopoietic stem cell transplantation. He completed a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery at Otago University and the Christchurch School of Medicine, before completing his internal medicine and postgraduate haematology training in the Auckland region. He became a fellow of the Australasian Colleges of Physicians and Pathologists in 2003 and undertook 2 years of subspecialty training in acute leukaemia, high grade lymphoma and bone marrow transplantation at Vancouver General Hospital and the British Columbia Cancer Agency. Richard returned to Auckland in 2005 as a consultant haematologist and is currently the Director of the Auckland and Starship Children’s Hospital’s Stem Cell Transplant Program.

Presentation Topic: What are ALL my options ? Navigating access to Unfunded Blood Cancer treatments in the New Zealand Environment.

Understanding a new diagnosis of a blood cancer and the possible treatment pathways can potentially be overwhelming and confusing. In this talk Richard will highlight how blood cancer drugs are approved and funded in New Zealand with particular emphasis on ensuring a patient is aware of all the available options.

David Downs

David has had a successful career in the private and public sector, with senior roles at organisations such as Microsoft, and New Zealand Trade & Enterprise. David is a published author on New Zealand Innovation, with two highly successful books – No.8 Re-wired, and No.8 Recharged. He’s an ex-comedian, TV and Radio actor, semi-finalist for New Zealander of the Year, and a genetically modified organism who documented his battle with cancer in his book A Mild Touch of the Cancer.

David co-founded sosbusiness.nz a not-for-profit initiative to help cafes and other small businesses during covid-19. It quickly became a huge hit and to date has sold over $2 million in vouchers for over 2500 small businesses. David released a new book, Silver Linings in March 2021, and continues to act as a consultant for government and industry, as well as a director on a number of boards.

Presentation topic: Cancer – a User’s Guide

Self-described Genetically Modified Optimist David Downs will lead a session talking about adjusting your life when dealing with a cancer diagnosis, then will lead a panel discussion that promises to be entertaining, educational, and thought-provoking.

Dr Kathryn Forwood

Kathryn is a clinical and laboratory haematologist based out of Dunedin Hospital. She is also a fully qualified palliative medicine physician and works part-time at Otago Community Hospice. Kathryn has a strong passion for improving the overlap and interaction between haematology and palliative care with the aim of improving outcomes for our patients. She is also the Director of Junior Doctor training for Southern District Health Board and takes great pleasure in training up the new generation of doctors with a patient-centred focus.

Presentation Topic: Palliative care and Haematology: how do they get along? Presenting with Elaine Horn and Robyn Martin

This talk aims to demystify the palliative care pathway and explain where palliative care and hospice care fit in haematology treatment.

Michael Hempseed

Michael Hempseed is the author of Being A True Hero: Understanding and Preventing Suicide in Your Community. The book is being used by the New Zealand Police, Fire and Emergency NZ, GPs, Counsellors as well as many parents and teachers. He also speaks about many other well-being topics. Michael gained an honours degree in Psychology from the University of Canterbury in 2008. In 2016 he spoke at TEDx on overcoming failure.

Presentation topic: Working through the difficult times

Cancer can be one of the most challenging things families will ever experience. In this fun and insightful workshop you will learn a number of ways to manage the bad days, when it is all too much and too overwhelming. Many people who have been to talks like this only hear about mindfulness and gratitude, but there are many other techniques and strategies.

Dr Amy Holmes

Amy is a consultant haematologist practicing in the Christchurch and West Coast Hospitals having previously trained in Australia. Whist her scope of practice spans the breadth of malignant and non-malignant haematology she has a particular interest in lymphoma.

Presentation topic: Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL) Updates and Q&A

Elaine Horn, RN, MN

Elaine is the team leader for the community palliative care service for Otago Community Hospice. She is a registered nurse with experience in palliative care, emergency department, and education experience.

Presentation Topic: Palliative care and Haematology: how do they get along? – Presenting with Dr Kathryn Forwood and Robyn Martin

This talk aims to demystify the palliative care pathway and explain where palliative care and hospice care fit in haematology treatment.

Erin Kavanagh

Erin Kavanagh has worked in paediatric oncology and haematology since commencing her nursing career.  Erin has worked in a number of nursing positions at Sydney Children’s Hospital Network before moving to Auckland 6 years ago.   Erin Kavanagh is currently a nurse specialist at the Starship Blood and Cancer Centre facilitating the paediatric long term follow-up programme and coordinating care for lymphoma patients.

Presentation topic: Survivorship and Long Term Follow-up for Blood Cancers

The long term effects of a blood cancer vary and depend on the type of cancer, treatment received and individual risk factors.  Survivorship, chemo brain and the management of health in relation to long term effects will be discussed.  An overview of the Paediatric Late Effects Assessment Programme (LEAP) for children, adolescents and young adults will also be provided.

Dr Graeme Kidd

Graeme was born in Auckland and is a graduate of Otago University.  He did post-graduate studies in obstetrics in London.  He did obstetrics for 20 years as part of his General Practice.  He has also had a long interest in palliative care and worked part-time at Totara Hospice for 14 years.  Graeme has been in his General Practice in Howick since 1978 and he also currently works with Dove Hospice in Glendowie.  He has a keen interest in mind-body medicine.  Graeme is married with two children and two grandchildren.

Closing Speech: Living Well with Blood Cancer – What else can I do for myself?

Dr Seán MacPherson

Seán MacPherson is a haematologist and senior clinical lecturer employed jointly by the University of Otago, Christchurch, and by Canterbury District Health Board. He is part of the UOC Haematology Research Group, currently investigating immunosuppression in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia. Cross-campus laboratory collaborations involve research into acute myeloid leukaemia, myelodysplastic syndromes and haemostasis. Seán is an enthusiastic teacher and uses a number of innovative techniques including song, poetry and drama to get his message across.

Presentation topic: Understanding blood test results

Robyn Martin, RN, PG Dip HSci (PC)

Robyn works at Otago Community Hospice as a care coordinator in the community. She is a registered nurse with experience in palliative care, Oncology and district nursing.

Presentation Topic: Palliative care and Haematology: how do they get along? – Presenting with Dr Kathryn Forwood and Elaine Horn

This talk aims to demystify the palliative care pathway and explain where palliative care and hospice care fit in haematology treatment.

Dr Ian Morison

Ian is a haematologist with Southern Community Laboratories in Dunedin, where he diagnoses all types of blood disorders. He particularly enjoys a difficult diagnostic challenge or coming across a rare condition that he has not seen before. As an academic at the University of Otago, he is in the privileged position of being able to explore some of the puzzles in his research laboratory.  His main research interests at present include the genetics of myeloma and of thrombocytopenia.

Presentation topic: Genes, Genetics and Familial blood cancers – presenting with Peter Browett

Dr Humphrey Pullon

Dr. Humphrey Pullon is a Consultant Haematologist based in Hamilton. After training in Auckland and at Kings College in London, he returned to the Waikato Hospital, where he has been since the early 1990s. Humphrey also works in private from PathLab in Hamilton, and has a role as a clinical advisor to the NZ Cancer Agency, Te Aho o Te Kahu.

Humphrey has a strong interest in malignant haematology, and has developed the Autologous Stem Cell transplant programme at Waikato Hospital.  Besides his interests in Leukaemia, Lymphoma and bone marrow failure syndromes, he also has an interest in Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia and is a co-investigator on the KISS CML clinical trial. He has quite a number of patients with myeloproliferative disorders, and has an increasing awareness of the role of molecular testing, particularly for patients with myelofibrosis.

Presentation topic: MPN updates with Q and A

Carol Rose

Carol Rose is a Clinical Aromatherapist & Educator, who specialises in people with progressive & life-limiting illness & is the lead therapist at her local Hospice.

Formerly a Registered General Nurse, Carol focussed her career in oncology & palliative care across several UK cancer centres, including the Royal Marsden Hospital, where she completed a BSc (HONS) in Palliative Nursing.  With over 20-years in positions funded by Macmillan Cancer Relief, her roles included clinical research investigating quality of life issues in patients with advanced cancer and during her time at the Royal Marsden Hospital, Carol discovered Aromatherapy which became an area of intense interest throughout her nursing career.  Since moving to New Zealand, she completed a Diploma in Aromatherapy & continued with overseas advanced studies in Clinical Aromatherapy.  She teaches educational programmes for healthcare & allied-health professionals on issues related to aromatherapy in oncology & palliative care, writes regularly for the International Journal of Clinical Aromatherapy; is a member of their Editorial Advisory Board and a Fellow of ICAN (International Clinical Aromatherapy Network).

Presentation topic: Making a difference in cancer care: the potential of aromatherapy

This talk explores the broader potential of aromatherapy; starting with what an essential oil is through to its beneficial use for a variety of common symptoms experienced by patients with leukaemia & blood-related cancers.

Dr Myra Ruka

Clinical Equity Lead – Te Aho o Te Kahu
Clinical Haematologist
Hei Ahuru Mowai (Maaori Cancer Leadership Aotearoa) – Board Member
Co-Chair Clinical Equity Leadership Waikato DHB
Maori Health Committee for Royal Australasian College of Physicians.
Current PhD student, University of Auckland

Keynote Speech: Te Aho o Te Kahu update

Louise Sue

Louise is the Adolescent & Young Adult Cancer Key Worker (Clinical Nurse Specialist) for AYA Cancer Service- Canterbury District Health Board and Associate Investigator –AYA Global Accord Psycho-Oncology Research. She has a  Masters in Nursing – The sexual health concerns and sexual health education needs of adolescents with cancer (2013).  Her role focuses on developing and running the Canterbury AYA Cancer Service which aims to provide wrap-around care and support that is developmentally appropriate and meets the unique needs of AYA.   

Twitter Handle @LouiseNZsue

Presentation topic: Young Adult session – focussing on your wellbeing  presenting with Jake Bayley

Sophie Walls BHSc Podiatry

Sophie remembers visiting her local podiatrist at age seven and ever since has wanted to be in this healing profession. Sophie loves her job – helping people get to most out of life with better foot and lower limb health.
Podiatry has allowed Sophie many opportunities including running her own rural and remote Australian podiatry service in regional New South Wales. Now back in her hometown of Christchurch Sophie is loving servicing the Canterbury community.
Sophie is a Podiatry New Zealand member and a member of the Australian Podiatry Association.

Presentation topic: Foot damage and peripheral neuropathy – how podiatry can help you self-manage – presenting with Georgina Barr

The effects of blood cancer and leukaemia treatments can include damaged toe nails, thinning skin, increased corns and calluses, and symptoms of peripheral neuropathy. We will discuss strategies to help to manage the impact of these issues on your feet, and your daily life.

Dr Rob Weinkove

Dr Rob Weinkove, Consultant Haematologist and Clinical Director of the Malaghan Institute in Wellington. He studied medicine at the University of Cambridge and Kings College London, and specialised in haematology at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospitals in London.

He has a PhD from the University of Otago Wellington. Rob’s current research interests include tumour immunotherapy using innate-like T cells and haematology supportive care.

Keynote Speech: Advances in haematology: past, present & future
Presentation topic 2: Haematology and the Covid landscape – Q and A

Robyn Bayly and Julee Binns

Robyn Bayly (left) and Julee Binns (right) are Physiotherapists in Christchurch with 20 years of experience between them in the area of cancer rehabilitation. During this time, they have recognised common barriers for people with cancer in accessing rehabilitation services across New Zealand.

They have recently launched their online programme “Cancer FIT NZ” to provide education and exercise classes to empower people to take control of a component of their health, no matter where they are in their cancer journey.

They are passionate about providing people with the skills and support they need to take that first step into exercise (or keep exercising) which research has shown to improve the side effects of cancer treatment, such as fatigue, nausea, and pain. If you know you ‘SHOULD‘ exercise, but don’t really want to, have no energy, or now not sure how to get back into it with your new ‘you’…then come join us at the forum as we share 3 easy steps to get active, stay active and be a healthier, more energetic you.

Presentation topic: Learn 3 easy steps to be a healthier, more energetic you.

Logan Heyes

Logan Heyes is a Senior Therapeutic Group Manager at Pharmac for the respiratory, and haematology oncology therapeutic groups. Prior to becoming a TGM in December 2019, he worked in clinical development for both early and late-stage clinical trials in the UK, as well as in medical communications for US, European and Asian markets. Logan is a biochemist by training, however, the fast pace of the haematology oncology therapeutic group and the benefits that novel treatments provide to these patients is of particular interest to him.

Presentation topic: Pharmac  – Understanding the Pharmac process, challenges and goals + Q and A