Life Paths - treatment for cancer Phil Kerslake (MNZM)
Helping people navigate cancer journeys
Phil Kerslake - World renowned cancer survivor
Gillian, Rhys and Matthew
Coping with cancer, fight cancer

About me

I grew up in New Zealand after emigrating with my family in the mid-1960s from Swansea in the south of Wales. I live in Wellington with my lovely wife Gillian and our young sons Rhys and Matthew, but I am regularly invited and hosted to travel throughout the country and overseas to speak with and about people affected by cancer.

I am a survivor of seven cancer encounters since my teens, involving at least one new diagnosis or recurrence in each of the five decades since the '70s. I was diagnosed with an incurable lymphoma as a 19 year old in 1979 and 'given' up to 10 years to live. My first symptoms appeared when I was a Schoolboy aged just 14 or 15.

I have belied my prognosis but have had to fight hard and increasingly smart to cope with the many treatments and procedures I've had to endure along the way. It is this direct, personal experience together with research and enquiry I have carried out over decades that I am able to bring to the causes of other people affected by cancer. I have been working part-time with people affected by cancer internationally since the late 1980s.

I do what I do for the love of it, but I have been honoured with recognition too. In 2007, from hundreds of nominees around the world I won an international Re-Building Lives Award in Vienna, Austria for my work in cancer patient support.

At the American Cancer Society's 2011 International Relay For Life Summit in Florida, USA, the ACS appointed me as an International Hero of Hope for 2011/12. As New Zealand's Hero of Hope I was recognised as someone who had positively impacted my community. I also served as the voice and face of Relay For Life in NZ until August 2012.

Finally, in the New Year 2014 Queen's Honours, I was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit 'for services to people with cancer'.

See photos of Phil doing what he does best »