Gail O’Brien – Officer of the Order of Australia

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Chris O’Brien Lifehouse board director Gail O’Brien has been recognised for her commitment to improving the lives of people with cancer.

Ms O’Brien was awarded the Officer of the Order of Australia on Australia Day for her passion and drive to continue the vision of her late husband, Dr Chris O’Brien AO.

“Each day as I visit patients on the ward, I carry the memory of my husband in my heart,” she said.

Dr O’Brien died from brain cancer, and their son Adam also died suddenly. As a director of the board and patient advocate, Ms O’Brien has turned her personal tragedy into public benefit.

By working to ensure the lessons from the illness and death of her husband have been translated into wider cancer care, she has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to improving the lives of people with cancer and patients in general.

“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,” Ms O’Brien said.

“The individuals and teams with whom I have been privileged to work over the past year are the stewards of our journey.” 

Her colleagues at the Sydney hospital are delighted yet not surprised by the accolade.

“As well as helping patients navigate the difficult waters of a cancer diagnosis, Gail has been pivotal in raising millions of dollars for cancer research and treatment,” Chris O’Brien Lifehouse CEO Eileen Hannagan said.

“She keeps us buoyant and raises us up both in terms of morale and our bottom line. This award fittingly recognises the selfless dedication Gail has shown to improving the lives of Australians with cancer.”

The hospital’s chief clinical officer Michael Boyer said it has been “a huge privilege to work alongside Gail.” 

“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,” he said.

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