SNOG AMBASSADORS

Craig Bowater

Craig Bowater

Craig grew up in the UK before heading to Sydney in 2002 where he started his business and pursued his passion for sailing.

Over the next few years Craig’s business expanded throughout Australia and into Asia. In 2004 Craig started seeing an Australian girl called Tiffany, and they enjoyed travelling, boating on the harbour, keeping fit, spending time and planning a future together. At the end of August 2005 at 34 years, Craig had a persistent headache which prompted a visit to Manly Hospital, where he was diagnosed with a brain tumour.

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He was soon transferred to RNS where the diagnosis became terminal brain cancer; glioblastoma IV giving him 6 months…possibly up to 2 years if he was really lucky! Craig was fortunate enough to be under the care of Neurosurgeon Ray Cook, Oncologist Helen Wheeler and Radiation Oncologist Phillip Yuile, and of course his devoted girlfriend Tiffany who was by his side all the way.

Craig, who some might say is a bit of a work-a-holic returned to his office and continued to build and grow his business whilst undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Craig had incredible will, strength, and determination to beat this unbeatable cancer. He continued keeping fit, sailing and added motorbike riding to his list of daily pursuits…just to test the boundaries, much to his Oncologists dismay!

In 2011 Craig and Tiffany were married at Whale Beach, and they enjoy living on Sydney’s beautiful northern beaches. Craig is now a 10+ year survivor, and hopes that his story may give hope and inspiration to others who are suffering this insidious disease. Craig is a proud supporter of SNOG, and is committed to helping raise awareness, stop the suffering and find a cure for brain cancer.

Evan Shonk

In November of 2004 Evan suffered a focal seizure to the left hand side of his body. It was this event that lead to him being diagnosed with a grade three glioma.

It was situated in the parietal lobe of the brain. This area is responsible for speech, comprehension and movement. Evan was operated on to hopefully remove the tumour. He also had chemotherapy and radiotherapy to reduce the risk of regrowth occurring.

Craig Bowater
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During the treatment phase he had two young children, was unable to work for a year or drive. He remembers that his life was tipped upside down. The stress of this period was exacerbated when both his brother Peter and his brother in law Joe, were diagnosed with brain tumors. Unfortunately,Evan was the only one to survive. Joe and Peter both left behind young families who had to struggle without a dad.

Evan had an excellent recovery with no re-occurring problems. He has been able to run his own business, and be there for his children. He sails, dives and is a Scout leader.

He is very grateful for his good health and feels compelled to help bring Brain cancer into the public eye in the hope that there will be more funding made available for research and support.

Manuel Mirzoian

Manuel Mirzoian

Manuel Mirzoian, is a father to two teenage children and husband to Helen Mirzoian who two years ago, passed away at age 48 from Brain Cancer.

Helen was a loving, caring, positive and inspirational woman to her family and friends. She worked at Telsta for many years in the public affairs department producing their internal monthly magazine. After becoming a mother to her children she was committed to raising her children and enjoying life to its fullest.

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couple-shotjpgFollowing Helen’s diagnosis ,Manuel and Helen explored many avenues which included the latest treatments available at the time to keep this killer disease at bay. Unfortunately, none were able to stop it from becoming a grade 4 GBM but she did her very best for 12 years.

Since Helen’s passing, Manuel was inspired by her attitude to life and in her memory established Helen’s Hope, a not- for- profit organization with a two-fold: To raise awareness of the need research funds that will help in the search of a cure for this disease and to provide financial support for services to brain cancer patients and their families.

Since its launch almost two years ago, Helen’s Hope has raised more than 14K for research and with it’s latest event, the 2016 Helen’s Bay Walk, they will begin to fulfil its 2nd part of its mission.

Manuel currently spends several hours a week at the North Shore Private Hospita providing support to Cancer patients and or their family members by talking to them about their current challenges, sharing his experiences and providing companionship.

Helen never gave up hope to finding ways to live a long and a healthy lifestyle. This is a great opportunity to raise awareness and to help find a cure.

www.helenshope.org.au

Julian Huxley

Julian is a former Wallaby and brain cancer survivor.

6 months after representing Australia in the Rugby World Cup 2007, Julian suffered a seizure during a game and was subsequently diagnosed with a brain tumour.

Julian Huxley
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In 2008 Julian was operated on by SNOG co-founder Dr Ray Cook, and underwent chemotherapy with Dr Helen Wheeler. Ever since, Julian has been a SNOG Ambassador and a passionate supporter of Brain Cancer fundraising.

At present Julian combines another of his passions, golf, with SNOG and hosts the annual SNOG Big Brain Bash Golf Day, now into its third year and having raised in excess of $100 000 already. Julian continues his involvement in Rugby, coaching Warringah in the Sydney Club Rugby competition.

 

Sindy Viney

Sindy Viney

My name is Sindy Viney and I tragically lost my beautiful daughter Samantha to Brain Cancer in November 2013.

Sam was 18, had just completed her HSC and was making plans for a bright fun adventurous future. When a set of catastrophic events lead to Sam having a brain scan, a violent seizure, being placed on life support and helicopter to Sydney’s North Shore Hospital for emergency brain surgery.

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That traumatic day began our lifetime association with Sydney Neuro Oncology Group (SNOG).

A diagnosis of brain cancer is a devastating event for the patient, their family and friends. It completely overwhelms your thoughts and emotions and as a mother all you want to do is protect your beautiful child.

The Sydney Neuro Oncology Group was an invaluable resource for our family during Sam treatment, allowing us to focus on and protect Sam. We were never distracted by booking doctor’s appointments or arranging treatment. SNOGs provided all care coordination and scheduled treatments, whilst always considering the distance we travelled for treatment and ensuring that our precious time was never wasted. For this service and support we will be forever grateful.

Sam bravely fought brain cancer for 20 months and before her death we discussed as a family the importance of Sydney Neuro Oncology Group. As a health professional and mother, we experienced the highest professional care and support from SNOGs. Their dedication to brain cancer research and continued drive toward developing effective treatment options and ultimately a cure for brain cancer is inspirational.

Assisting SNOGs in raising funds for research, care coordination and increasing awareness of Brain Cancer was a final promise I made to my daughter. In memory of my beautiful Sam, I am honoured to be ambassador for the Sydney Neuro Oncology Group.

Ceri Smith

In the early hours of Boxing Day 2002 Ceri received a call from her Mum to say Dad was seriously ill and an ambulance was on its way. What followed was a diagnosis of a Brain Tumor and emergency surgery the following day.

5 surgeries and a yearlong battle took its toll and her Dad sadly lost his life to this cruel disease early January 2004.

Sindy Viney
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Ceri spent her childhood years in Germany, an RAF kid, playing hide and seek amongst Tornado GR3’s! The family then moved back to the UK with Ceri spending her teenage years in Wales and then University in Bristol. It was whilst studying her Law degree that her Dad fell ill. Since losing her Dad Ceri has enjoyed travelling the world stepping foot on every continent except Antarctica. Settling in Sydney almost 8 years ago Ceri has completed several challenges including a 200km bike ride and the Noosa Triathlon (whilst terrified of ocean swimming!) to raise awareness and funds for Brain Cancer research.

Ceri now lives on the Northern Beaches with her fiancé Neil, and pet’s Pepper the rabbit and Jester the Labrador.

Ceri is incredibly honoured and proud to become an Ambassador for SNOG, who along with her fiancé is committed to raising awareness and funding so that one day there will be a cure for brain cancer.

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