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
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'.
photos of Phil doing what he does best »