Gail and Juliette O’Brien, the wife and daughter of the late, great, Professor Chris O’Brien AO, have held their last book event together. Fittingly, it was at Chris O`Brien Lifehouse, the cancer hospital he founded, during the anniversary month of his death..
In 2008, Dr O’Brien published his best-selling memoir of his battle with brain cancer, Never Say Die. But he wasn’t the only person in the O’Brien household with a powerful story to tell. Since Chris passed away, Gail has gone on a journey of her own: from busy surgeon’s wife and mother of a picture-perfect family, to a widow in her mid-fifties, grieving not only her husband but also her son, Adam, who died as a result of epilepsy a short time after Chris’ death. Around the same time, Juliette was diagnosed with cancer.
Stepping forward to make her own mark on the world, Gail discovered a resolve and strength deep within herself. She has played an instrumental role in supporting her husband’s vision for Australia to have its own world-class, integrated and comprehensive cancer facility, and continues as a key board member at Lifehouse.
Gail and Juliette spoke about life with and after Chris O’Brien in an emotional, hour-long event at Lifehouse on June 30. Patients shared their own stories, and were able to speak personally with the O’Briens, as they held a booksigning of Juliette’s book, This Is Gail.