Patient Advisory Board Health Equals Freedom – Making Sense of Cancer
‘The Board Health Equals Freedom’ has two separate components: the Patient Advisory Board and the Medico-Legal Board.
These two Boards advise Health Equals Freedom and Founder Dr Rachel Cameron.
The first is the Patient Advisory Board. On this board are members who have first-hand lived-experience with cancer and who are passionate about helping patients newly diagnosed with cancer navigate the complex healthcare system.
The second is the Medico-Legal Board. On this board are members who have medical or legal experienced in health in Australia.
Membership of the Patient Board:
Cat du Toit
Cat du Toit
Catherine-Ann “Cat” du Toit has a Bachelor of Creative Arts, a Diploma and a Certificate in Graphic Design and New Media.
Cat’s mother, Sonia, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007 which metastasised to the brain and bones. It was Sonia’s greatest wish to pass away at home, so Cat became her primary carer during the last difficult months, while still juggling her job from her parent’s home. She has had a lot of experience with all the different facets of supporting and caring for someone with cancer.
Cat was a Project Management and Admin Coordinator who spent 8 years in the biotechnology industry, including providing the Compassionate Access Program to a range of oncology medicines and has over 16 years experience in administration. Cat has done freelance design work in healthcare and music industries and can also play and teach the organ and piano.
In 2018, 3 years after Sonia’s brave battle ended, Cat decided to resign from her job and travel the world. She is now looking towards the next phase of her career and deciding which direction to take.
She is the proud mother of 2 dogs and a bird and absolutely loves all animals. She is extremely passionate about helping people and is always looking for ways to improve their lives.
Naveena Nekkalapudi MBA
Naveena Nekkalapudi is a breast cancer survivor since (2015) and a carer of elderly parents. Following her diagnosis, she decided to re-evaluate her life and focus on matters that are important to her. She describes it as changing from being career ambitious to being life ambitious. Wanting to utilise her varied skills and knowledge in assisting others to achieve better health outcomes.
In her previous (corporate) life, she was a senior professional with extensive strategy, research, M&A and management skills across a range of industries – dairy, trustee, funds management and private health insurance. After completing treatment for cancer, Naveena drove the creation of a breast ‘cancer concierge’ service with her health insurance employer and now their members who are newly diagnosed with breast cancer (between 4,000 – 5,000 Australians per year) receive support as they navigate the private health system.
Naveena has an M. B. A. from Melbourne Business School and is a member of the Community Advisory Committee with Eastern Health, and a member of the Emergency Care Clinical Network Insight Committee at Safer Care Victoria. She also is a telephone peer support volunteer at Cancer Council Victoria, a buddy volunteer with the Breast Cancer research lab at Walter and Eliza Hall Institute and (a consumer representative with the Breast Cancer Network Australia).
Naveena is also an avid traveller, mad sports spectator (cricket, AFL, tennis) and loves dogs of all shapes and sizes. Naveena also LOVES fashion and supporting small business owners, (especially clothing and jewellery). For example her friend setup up HatHouse, who is another breast cancer survivor.
Lee Renfree is an ocean going sailor, a Personal Trainer and a breast cancer survivor.
She has fought many battles with clients and creative people in Adland and helmed her vessel through wild weather and seas. Surviving breast cancer has been her toughest battle yet. Lee attributes her tenacity to having a long relationship with exercise and working with a dedicated Personal Trainer to keep moving and building muscle. Believing Personal Training and exercise to be a vital tool in living a long and productive life, Lee left advertising 3 years ago and transitioned to her new career in Personal Training. Specialising in working with people over 50, for Lee exercise is medicine.
The day of diagnosis is a long and lonely one. Anger, fear and depression are common emotions surrounding this journey. Exercise can produce happy hormones that can raise the spirit and give a sense of fulfilment and satisfaction.
It helps you to wrestle back some control of your life and can just make you feel good. Lee believes in making it a fun and fulfilling experience.
Our Patient Advisory Board – helps Health Equals Freedom to have perspectives of patients and their families at the forefront of our mind.
Contact us for Cancer Services.