Inspired by the commitment of patron Richard Penn to improving outcomes for people affected by bowel cancer, Gavin Fox-Smith joined Bowel Cancer Australia’s board in 2004.

“I’ve always believed in the mission,” said Gavin.

Together, the directors professionalised the small charity and began working towards a ‘grand vision’ of creating a research chair dedicated to leading-edge bowel cancer discoveries.

In 2010, Gavin stepped away from the board due to international professional commitments but remained an active supporter, serving as a charity Ambassador. This year, he resumed as a director on the Bowel Cancer Australia board.

“For me, Bowel Cancer Australia is simply a purpose-driven extension of how I want to contribute to the health of Australia,” Gavin said.

“Bowel cancer is one of those diseases where if we catch it early enough, we can actually do something about it.

“In the 10 years since I’ve been away from the board, it’s been remarkable what’s been achieved,” said Gavin. “The Lawrence Penn Chair of Bowel Cancer Research became a reality with the appointment of Professor Mark Molloy PhD in 2017, and the charity has developed a strong national and international voice.

“We may not be able to eradicate bowel cancer, but we certainly can improve clinical and social outcomes for bowel cancer patients.”

Gavin has worked as a senior commercial and executive leader in the Asia Pacific region, and has more than 30 years’ experience in the medical devices industry, including 22 years at Johnson & Johnson Medical, and Chair of the Medical Technology Association of Australia.

He is also a member of the Male Champions of Change in STEM and Health, and a passionate advocate for efforts that improve health, literacy, and education.