Ian Thatcher brings extensive professional experience as a global financial advisor to his role as a Director on the Bowel Cancer Research Foundation Australia Board.
A passionate believer in team-based pioneering to deliver breakthroughs, Ian found himself attracted to the charity’s commitment to leading-edge bowel cancer discoveries that have an everlasting impact on Australian health.
But it is Ian’s personal experience which fuels his commitment to the charity’s vision of making real change happen.
Having witnessed the devastating impact of bowel cancer on my family for two generations, I’m dedicated to ensuring it doesn’t impact a third.
Dad had bowel cancer at age 52.
I was in my final year of Uni, doing my exams and I still remember the shock of his diagnosis.
He survived, but in those days, it was never spoken about and there wasn’t a lot of education around family history and risk.
I suspect my dad wasn’t the first [to have had bowel cancer] in my family.
Life took over - Shonagh and I were married the day before moving to Australia in 1987 and we were focussed on working hard and sampling everything the lucky country has to offer.
At age 47 I began to feel something wasn’t quite right.
So, I went to see my doctor.
Within 2 days I was in hospital.
My two boys were both under 10 when I was diagnosed.
They are now 21 and 20, have been checked out, and will continue to undergo active surveillance.
We’re acting on my learnings.
Creating awareness is number one which is why I’m out and about in the community talking about it.
We have to encourage people to have those tests.
I’m also absolutely committed to the research side and very passionate about making breakthroughs.
We’re talking to clinicians about how we can get more people participating in research programs.
I’m also working on directing attention to the research requirements of the Lawrence Penn Chair, because bowel cancer research remains under recognised financially by state and federal government.
I believe personal and collective health and wellbeing are the pillars to a happy life and a progressive society.
There is concern that the massive impact of COVID-19 will overshadow other critical health concerns, including bowel cancer, which would be detrimental to awareness efforts.
But my hope is that all diseases that require attention, including bowel cancer, will benefit from society’s increased attention on general health, and a better understanding of the essential role medical research performs – for example, in the development of vaccines and cures.
I am so grateful to be a survivor – my doctor and surgeon saved my life, and recovery restored a wonderful family life and career with Deloitte.
We just returned to Sydney after living in London for two years and now it’s time to give back.
Being a part of the Bowel Cancer Research Foundation Australia team in this amazingly important pursuit of a better future for all is a privilege.