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
 
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 director who owns a BOQ (Bank of Queensland) 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.
 

Leonie Young 

Clinical trials advocate Leonie Young was welcomed as an official member of the ANZUP Community Advisory Panel (CAP) at the 2017 ASM. As Chair of the Australia and New Zealand Breast Cancer Trials Group CAP, Leonie has supported the ANZUP CAP since 2012. She has helped establish a dedicated group of enthusiastic volunteers able to participate across all of ANZUP’s research activities from a consumer perspective. 
 

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

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.
 

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 58 lives in Melton Victoria and married with 3 adult children and 5 grandchildren. His life was about family, running, work and the motor sport club and was pretty healthy until his diagnosis with bladder cancer in December 2016. Priorities have changed a little in the past couple of years with family becoming number one. Michael spends more time now with his family, plans more holidays (to NZ, SA, WA to name a few), helps his club prepare for events, enjoys time with running friends and is focusing on improving his fitness - which hopefully will assist with fending off any recurrence of cancer - including some incredible endurance challenges. 

Michael has a renewed focus on enjoying what life has to offer, including good food, coffee and wine. He has found being part of an ongoing bladder cancer trial has also opened up a new avenue of interest, and opportunities to make a difference, like raising funds for ANZUP in support of the work they do to improve outcomes.

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