I leave New Zealand tomorrow morning. We made a quick visit to Wellington today after spending two days in Martinborough. New Zealand is so lucky having so much space, something that they must preserve for as long as possible. As well as space there is also a feeling of limited crime activity. I thought the picture of the Martinborough police station illustrated this point very well. In Martinborough we also had the opportunity to do a bit(a lot) of wine tasting – superb. Wellington I saw from a scenic tour bus which was done extremely well. Having a capital with only 480,000 inhabitants is such a privilege.
Martinborough Police Station
Following such a wonderful conference organised by SIOP, Mary and I decided to do a bit of touring around the North Island New Zealand. This moring we left Lake Taupo and prior to travelling to Hawkes Bay we decided to visit Wai-O-Tapu a geothermal park. After walking around the park I bumped in Anders Wollmen from Sweden, Val Figliuzzi from Canada, Simon Lala from New Zealand, and Kenneth Dollman from South Africa, all members of ICCCPO. New Zealand has a land area 10% greater than Great Britain and a population of less than 10% of the UK so meeting people that I know was quite amazing.
I have only been in New Zealand for a week but I can realy understand why people want to live here. Gordon
What a lovely evening! Child cancer parent groups from all over the world gathered together for some traditional Kiwi hospitality tonight. I was on a table with Japanese, Korean, Indonesian and Bangladesh parents of child cancer patients. It’s fascinating to hear how things are done in different parts of the world and how we can all learn from each other.
Dr Renner and Gordon
Dr Lorna Renner, our project leader from Accra, has travelled all the way from Ghana to the attend the conference in Auckland. She’s speaking on Sunday about her work improving survival rates across the whole of Ghana by establishing satellite centres and improving training. She met Gordon, our Chairman, for the first time this evening at the SIOP Opening Ceremony. The conference is a great opportunity for World Child Cancer to get medics together from all over the globe to discuss current projects and develop new ones!
I met Dr Mae Dolendo today – finally! She is the project leader of our programme in The Philippines and we’ve been emailing each other for over two years. It was great to finally meet her. She’s as inspirational and passionate as her emails suggest. I could have spoken to her for hours but as we were in the middle of a tour of the Auckland Ronald McDonald House as part of a reception organised by the international parent support group, ICCCPO. Mae is speaking on Sunday along with another of our project leaders, Dr Lorna Renner from Ghana, and I’m looking forward to hearing their presentations.
Our Trustees Meeting in New Zealand
I arrived in Auckland at 4pm yesterday for the SIOP conference and have managed to get some sleep before the Board Meeting at 8.30am this morning. Seven of our Trustees will be attending the meeting. They have travelled from all over the world – the UK, US, Netherlands, Hong Kong, South Africa – to attend the world’s largest annual child cancer conference. I’m looking forward to meeting Dr Lorna Renner from Ghana for the second time and Dr Mae Dolendo from The Philippines for the first time. They are both speaking at the conference about their work and how World Child Cancer is helping children in their countries.
With the half marathon behind me I yesterday tested my physical endurance yet again. I did some hill walking in Scotland which involved walking at least 10 miles on rough terrain and 1000ft elevation. The views were spectacular. I now require to focus my time on preparation for attending a Paediatric Oncology conference in Auckland which commences in two weeks. I already have lots of important meetings scheduled. World Child Cancer needs to encourage more people to take a more proactive interest in what we do. There is so much more we require to do. Any ideas would be welcomed.