Chris O’Brien Lifehouse was honoured on Australia Day with the news that Patient Advocate and Board Director Gail O’Brien has been awarded the Officer of the Order of Australia (AO).
The award recognises Gail’s service and dedication to those whose lives are touched by cancer. Together with an invaluable team of staff, volunteers and supporters, Gail has been instrumental in realising her husband’s dream of a comprehensive cancer hospital. This award, therefore, is a testament not only to Gail’s strength, but to the incredible generosity and fortitude that has made Chris O’Brien Lifehouse possible.
“It’s been a long road towards our destination of a hospital dedicated to the holistic understanding of healing in an environment of medical excellence and scientific discovery,” says Gail. “The individuals and teams with whom I have been privileged to work over the past year are the stewards of our journey.”
Seeing Gail’s kindness and empathy as she moves through the wards, it is evident that the honour is well deserved. Harnessing her personal experiences — her husband’s illness, the subsequent illness of her son Adam who died in 2011 from an epileptic seizure, and her daughter Juliette’s treatment for papillary thyroid carcinoma — as well as her own professional experience as a health professional of more than 40 years, Gail works tirelessly to enhance the care given to patients and their families.
The news has been met with delight from all of our staff and patients. “It’s been a huge privilege to work alongside Gail,” says Chief Clinical Officer, Michael Boyer. “She inspires us all to strive to be the very best we can be and with her steadfast determination she keeps us focused on the needs, the best interests and the best outcomes for our patients.”
For Gail, however, the award is a reflection of the community of which she feels lucky to be a part. “I could not be more proud of our independent, benevolent hospital and the care we give our patients,” she says.
Her words are a tremendous reminder to all of us of the importance of Chris O’Brien’s mission. With this award we are encouraged to strive for the best at all times, and to continue to turn your support into a positive force in the fight against cancer.