Our People

BTAA is run by a volunteer committee. Contact enquiries@btaa.org.au for more information about the BTAA Committee. The aims and objectives of BTAA are set out in our Statement of Objects and BTAA Rules

The current BTAA Committee consists of:

Catherine Hindson (ACT - Chair), Janet Micallef (VIC - Vice-Chair), Mike Bradley (VIC - Secretary), Pat Wynn (ACT - Treasurer) and Billy Williams (ACT - Assistant Secretary), Philip Steel (ACT) Pam Hubner (QLD), Alice Parsons (NSW), Michael Parsons (NSW), Amanda Griffin (SA), Diane Dunn (VIC), Di Pooley (NSW), and Eliza Moloney (ACT).

The Public Officer is an unelected position and is held by Eliza Moloney. 

 

BTAA Committee

Catherine Hindson

Catherine Hindson

Chair and Helpline

Catherine joined BTAA after her daughter Renee was diagnosed with an anaplastic astrocytoma in 2010.  Since then Catherine has held many roles, serving as Treasurer and Vice-Chairperson before being elected Chairperson in 2016. Catherine’s passion is to make sure every person diagnosed with a brain tumour is able to access information and support.

She holds a Bachelor of Nursing (post registration) from Deakin University and has enjoyed a 42 year career as a Registered Nurse working in operating theatres around Australia. The last 18 years of her career were spent in operating theatre management, ultimately managing 120 staff across a 10 theatre, multi-campus hospital group. 

Catherine took early retirement in 2006 to become a full time carer to her late husband Bill, who passed away with multiple myeloma in 2017.  She lives in Canberra where her two daughters, and her three grandchildren are nearby. Renee is now 45 and still doing well.

Janet Micallef

Vice-Chair and Helpline

Janet is a Melbourne based patient and co-founder of Grey Matters Brain Tumour Support Group - a registered Charity with Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) endorsement. "My Brain Tumour Journey started in 1984 with a Meningioma - last operation was 2014. Retired from Commonwealth Public Service after 30 years and now I am enjoying giving back to others through support and assistance on their BT Journey."

Mike Bradley

Secretary

I was diagnosed with a rather large meningioma and a couple of years after my initial diagnoses and treatment I moved to Melbourne and encountered Grey Matters for You Inc. I was astounded that a group of ex-patients had gotten together to form their own support group.

Their friendship and understanding really made a big difference to me and I felt I could make a good contribution to the group by offering them the skills I had developed as a clerical administrator and manager with the Department of Defence. I served as treasurer and helped them transform Grey Matters from an association to a charity, and I hope I can contribute similarly with BTAA. My hobbies include; electric bicycle enthusiast and kit building, retro gaming computer building, and everything “nerd”.

Pat Wynn

Treasurer

Pat’s husband Pete has had three craniotomies, the first in 1988, the second in 2004 and the most recent in 2015.  He has had a low grade Oligodendroglioma, ranging from Grade 2 (the most recent) to Grade 3-4 for the previous two.

Pat had never previously sought support until after the 2015 recurrence, when the affects of anti-seizure medication and 3 tumours started to have a more significant impact on their lives. Being able to connect with people going through similar situations has been beneficial in helping them deal with their ‘new normal’ life.

Billy Williams

Billy Williams

Assistant Secretary and Helpline Coordinator

Billy's wife Lynette passed away from a glioblastoma multiforme in 2017. It was the realisation of the impact the disease had on his family over a two year period that has led him to serve on the BTAA's committee. He has received strong support through the monthly meetings held in Canberra. He has three adult children and two grandchilden. Billy is a retired diplomat who served overseas in Africa and South East Asia.

Pam Hubner

Pam Hubner

Committee Member

Pam’s daughter was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2011, 2 months before her 37th birthday.

She found the challenges of helping to support an adult child rather daunting and attended a Cancer Council forum in Brisbane.

There was some information there about BTAA, a national body to help Brain Tumour patients and their carers.

Always wanting more information, to be able to help her daughter navigate this journey, Pam found that by joining as a member, it gave her access to much more information and resources to achieve this goal.

After being told her daughter's tumour was inoperable, it was through the information received from BTAA that Pam learnt the importance of asking questions and the seeking of a second opinion.

It is now with deep sadness, that at the age of 44 after an almost 8-year journey, Angie passed away on the 27th October 2018 leaving behind a husband and three young children.

Pam lives in Queensland and continues, when she can, to assist BTAA with their endeavours for ongoing support for Brain Tumour/Cancer patients and their families

Philip Steel

Committee Member, Co-convenor of the ACT Brain Tumour peer-to-peer Support Group, e-News and Magazine Editor

Philip was diagnosed with a Right Parietal Meningioma in 2011 and had a successful craniotomy shortly thereafter. Following a few months rest and recuperation Philip was able to return to his work as a high school principal, despite some adverse effects from the tumour and surgery.

Philip joined the Canberra Support Group in 2011 and has been a regular participant ever since. Now retired, Philip has been a Committee Member, assistant secretary and Vice-Chair of the BTAA and currently manages the “Inform” area of the organisation, which produces newsletters and organises publications for the patient information pack. 

Philip would especially like to see world-class and seamless brain tumour care coordination become the rule in all Australian brain tumour hospitals.

Alice Parsons

Committee Member

Alice came to the BTAA having seen a TV commercial promoting the organisation and she put in a phone call which was answered by the Chair of the organisation. Alice was profoundly heartened to have found an understanding ear when close to no information had been forthcoming regarding management of a life overwhelmed by a brain tumour diagnosis.

Alice’s 31 year-old son, Harry has an Anaplastic Astrocytoma, which was diagnosed in June 2015. She is his primary carer. He has had two craniotomies, a major stroke and a Pulmonary Embolism. Cheerfully, he suffers few deficits today and his rehabilitation has been excellent.

Alice lends her energy to helping others in a similar predicament, in the manner in which she has been helped by BTAA. Alice is married with three other adult children, two dogs and an enduring love of language. She writes and reads when she can.

Michael Parsons

Committee Member

Michael is Alice Parson's brother-in-law and the uncle of her son, Harry. He has first-hand experience of the challenges brain tumour patients endure and has joined BTAA to provide assistance to the brain tumour community. Michael is a Barrister of the Supreme Court of NSW and operates a boutique financial services business providing investor introductions, third party marketing services, fund manager marketing and distribution consulting, and capital raising services. 

He has enjoyed an extensive career in the wealth management field, having held senior positions at NAB, First Unity, Deutsche, Invesco, and Bankers Trust. He is married with three children and enjoys snow skiing, golf, tennis and surfing, and is a member of The Royal Sydney Golf Club and The Ski Club of Australia.

Amanda Griffin

Amanda Griffin

Committee Member

My daughter Erin was diagnosed with DIPG in February 2012 at the age of 12. Erin fought brain cancer for two and a half years during which time she became an international advocate for kids with cancer. Erin passed away aged 14 on 1st September 2014.

Throughout Erin’s cancer journey, we became involved with numerous organisations in Australia including Cure Brain Cancer Foundation, CCIA, The Cure Starts Now and the Coalition Against Childhood Cancer. Erin successfully brought public and political attention to the lack of childhood cancer and brain cancer research funding within Australia which resulted in the development of the first Childhood Cancer-specific website.

I am currently the Communication Engagement Manager for Telix Pharmaceuticals Ltd and have a direct focus on patient engagement, which enables me to utilise my brain cancer journey with Erin to incorporate a patient/carer perspective into the development of the company.

After taking some much-needed time-out to grieve for my daughter, I now feel the time is right for me to become more actively involved in the brain cancer community within Australia. I believe BTAA offers an incredibly valuable resource to brain tumour patients and their families.

Diane Dunn

Diane Dunn

Committee Member

In November 2016 I received a diagnosis of Grade 2 oligodendroglioma in my right parietal lobe and was advised it was inoperable. In common with most brain tumour patients, I was completely blindsided by this unexpected diagnosis. Prior to this, I was a very fit 54- year-old - vegetarian since 18, a non-smoker, and a non-drinker. 

As a result of my diagnosis, I lost my small business - I was the sole owner/operator of a boutique bakery and, as is often the case for self-employed people like myself, I didn’t have leave entitlements to fall back on.

I have a wonderfully supportive husband Philip, and three adult children. I am still an avid baker and live on a blissful bushland property in the foothills of the Brisbane Ranges in Victoria with two adored dogs. 

I look forward to being able to contribute to the work of BTAA, as I have a burning desire to bring awareness of brain cancer to the forefront of cancer discussion in this country. 

Di Pooley

Di Pooley

Committee Member

I entered the Brain tumour world 34 years ago, losing a young, very close loved one to this insidious disease. Then in 2015, I became unwell and was eventually diagnosed with a large 8cm meningioma on my brain, which was successfully removed 24 hours after it was first identified. Tragically, my older sister was admitted to the same hospital, 2 days after my surgery, and was diagnosed with multiple metastatic brain tumours. She has since passed away.

I am retired with a background in health care and planning, ranging from aged care nursing to residential lifestyle development, and dementia management, training and education. I manage the online Australian Meningioma Support Group which has 412 members and is growing daily.

I became involved with  BTAA some time ago and am part of the Sydney Peer-to-Peer Support Group Leadership Team. This group is very welcoming, proactive, informative and for me, it is a place to provide a voice for the many primary benign brain tumour survivors.

I believe I have a pretty good grasp of the twists and turns associated with brain tumours and I look forward to expanding my involvement to get the “words” out where they are needed most, providing information and pushing for more research.

Eliza Moroney

Committee Member

Team Members

Patricia Berman

Former Secretary and CALD Advisor

Canberra based Patricia (Tricia) Berman lives with her family in Canberra, having retired in 2014 from the Commonwealth public service where she oversaw Australian innovation policy. Tricia wants to continue to support the community and is doing so through her work for BTAA.  Tricia managed the BTAA Cancer Australia grant project, which made resources available in a range of culturally and linguistically diverse languages, assisted by a grant from Cancer Australia. 

Peter Ramstadius

Peter Ramstadius

Website Coordinator and Helpline

Peter is a semi-retired civil engineer from Coffs Harbour. He has enjoyed a varied career specialising in construction project management for both government and the private sector, but more recently in a self-employed role working in the mining industry. Peter became involved in the brain tumour community when his wife, Jenelle developed a GBM and passed away in 2017 after a 20-month battle. Jenelle had had an unrelated meningioma removed a few years earlier. 

Peter has four adult children and is keen to utilise the knowledge gained through his wife's journey to assist others.

Susan Pitt

Former Chair and Advisor

Susan came to BTAA through her son Matt, the co-founder of BTAA.  Susan is a breast cancer survivor, and trained breast cancer and Consumers' Health Forum (CHF) representatives' course participant, and mother of four children, including Matt. Susan has a Bachelor's Degree in Professional Writing and a Masters Degree in Public Policy (ANU). Susan represents Cancer Voices in the ACT.

Julia Robertson

Julia Robertson

Former Committee Member

Julia is Brisbane based. Julia was diagnosed in 2003 with a benign ventricular tumour. Julia was 29 and she writes: "My children were quite young. After 8 years and continued decline, I went to see Dr Charlie Teo who successfully removed it. One half of my brain and been pushed around into the other half. If it had been left any longer it would have killed me. A benign tumour does not mean it is not life threatening. I am now five years post op and study Psychological Science". 

Julia also volunteers for the Peace of Mind Foundation, helping with the Women's Retreat in 2015. She organised Tunes for Tumours to raise funds to support Peace of Mind Foundation in 2016. In 2017, in conjunction with BTAA and Griffith University, Julia assessed the feasibility and suitability of using Zoom ™ as a tool to allow people and their families living with a brain tumour living in remote areas to access psycho-social support. 

Diana Andrew

Diana Andrew

Former Committee Member

Perth based, Diana Andrew became involved in advocacy for people with brain cancer in April 2015 after Jeff, her best friend of 32 years and robust 51 year old husband, passed away after a 5 month battle with a highly aggressive glioblastoma. Passionate about brain cancer medical research, Diana is Community Advocate for the Cooperative Trials Group for Neuro-Oncology (COGNO), Scholarship Review Panel Member for Cancer Council WA, supporter of the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation, and volunteer with Professor Anna Nowak, Neuro-Oncologist at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.

Nicola Sheehan

Consumer Research Liaison Coordinator

Nicola is Canberra based and organised submissions to the Senate Select Committee into Funding for Research into Cancers with Low Survival Rates. She appeared at the Canberra hearing as part of the BTAA contingent.   

Former Founding Members

BTAA receives advice from former founding Committee Members Matt Pitt, Denis Strangman and Mary Anne Rosier who stood down from the Committee at the 2015 AGM after seven years of service.  Although no longer on the BTAA Committee, nor representing BTAA, each are available to provide specialist advice to BTAA upon request and continue as financial members of BTAA. 

Matthew D. Pitt

Founding Chair

Matt Pitt was a co-founder of Brain Tumour Alliance Australia in 2008, serving as the volunteer inaugural Chair for seven years. Matt was diagnosed with a low grade glioma in 2001, at the age of 19, and experienced a recurrence in 2003. The frustration and isolation of living with a poorly understood cancer-type, and realisation that outcomes remained poor, led him towards brain tumour patient advocacy work from 2004 onwards. 

Matt has seven years experience as a regulatory toxicologist, and recently moved to a related field in medical technology. He has a Bachelor (Honours) degree in Biotechnology, and a Masters degree in Public Health, both from the Australian National University. Matt lives in Canberra. 

Hear more about Matt and his experience as a brain tumour survivor in a YouTube video of his 2012 presentation here.

Denis Strangman AM

Founding Secretary, former Public Officer

Having lost his wife Marg to a brain tumour Denis is the foundation secretary of BTAA and previous Chair of the International Brain Tumour Alliance (www.theibta.org). He was chosen for his a public service award by the US-based Society for Neuro-Oncology (SNO) for his dedication and service to the BT community. He was awarded an AM in June 2015 for his services.   Denis co-founded BTAA and the International Brain Tumour Alliance (IBTA). He is available to BTAA as a specialist adviser although no longer on the BTAA committee. He is an active member of BTAA, including the ACT Brain Tumour peer-to-peer Support Group.

Mary Anne Rosier

Former Committee Member

Canberra based Mary Anne has lost a brother and a sister to brain tumours. Over her long involvement with BTAA she has initiated the Paediatric Resource Project, initiated the Wear a Hat for a Day for BTAA, answered the BTAA Freecall, and co-convened the ACT Brain Tumour peer-to-peer Support Group.  Mary Anne has worked as a primary school teacher and a practice manager.  She holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Community Counselling. She has also been a Lifeline Counsellor and was a palliative care volunteer for ten years.

Hear more about Mary Anne in her presentation on the challenges of coping with a brain tumour in the family here.