We extend a warm welcome and congratulations to Tracey Danaher to the Board of the Children's Cancer Foundation.
Tracey Danaher is a Professor at Monash University. Her primary research interests centre around solving business problems, but she also has a special interest in healthcare research, in particular, cancer care. Tracey began her career in the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) Faculty of Health looking at the physical, psychosocial and economic impact of cancer on patient well-being. A rewarding experience, Tracey then decided to undertake her PhD in the area of cancer care, focusing on understanding the service experiences of adult cancer patients.
Although she had interviewed and talked with cancer patients, it was not until cancer directly touched her own life that Tracey truly understood the overwhelming fear and anxiety, and the bravery it takes to face a cancer diagnosis – especially when that diagnosis is of your 4 year old son. Tracey’s son Zac was diagnosed in 2015 with a Choroid Plexus Carcinoma, a very rare and aggressive brain tumour. He fought cancer 3 times in 4 years supported by his mum, dad, and his wing man – his twin brother, Nick. Sadly Zac lost his battle, gaining his angel wings in 2019 just weeks after his 8th birthday.
To honour Zac and his family’s journey, Tracey wrote about their experiences, publishing her thoughts and observations in medical journals to ensure that the ‘human’ side of medicine is not lost in the ‘clinical’ processes. Among these articles, she had a narrative published in the world’s leading oncology journal – the Journal of Clinical Oncology – about Zac and her experiences fighting cancer. In 2017 Tracey was asked to be a parent representative on a paediatric brain cancer project funded by the Children’s Cancer Foundation, and the following year she was invited to be a speaker at Hudson Institute’s Childhood Cancer Research Symposium, funded by the Foundation.
Since then, Tracey has been a strong advocate of the Children’s Cancer Foundation. While paediatric cancer is not that rare – 1 in 285 children are diagnosed with cancer – Tracey believes that to ‘move the needle’ on childhood cancer continued investment in high quality, ground-breaking research is needed.
“As a family we have experienced first-hand the cancer journey – the endless nights in hospital, the fear and anxiety, the hope that comes with remission, and the shock and disappointment of relapse,”
In joining the Foundation’s board of Directors Tracey hopes to “…bring a mix of unique skills – experience in business (market research, marketing, advertising) and academia (research, grant writing, publishing, and teaching) all wrapped up in first-hand knowledge of the challenges and journey that children with cancer and their families face.”