The Sir William Kilpatrick Churchill Fellowship to study rural cancer control with particular reference to patient support, prevention and fundraising - Norway, Netherlands, Ireland, Canada, USA

Lawson was CEO Cancer Council Tasmania and was particularly pleased to be awarded the Sir William Kilpatrick Churchill Fellowship in 1999. This fellowship was established to honour the memory of a gentleman who not only assisted the foundation of the Churchill Trust, but also worked tirelessly for the Australian Cancer Society (the former national peak body in cancer control), eventually becoming the first recipient of that Society’s gold medal.

The Fellowship came at a time when The Cancer Council Tasmania (established in 1995) was determining the best way of meeting the needs of a decentralised and rural population, and provided a unique opportunity to study and evaluate possible additions and alternatives to the services and programs offered in Tasmania and Australia.



Countries visited:
Ireland, Norway, Canada and the USA Lawson was able to meet with paid and volunteer staff to discuss initiatives in the delivery of services in a temperate climate and/or a rural demographic. He was also fortunate to participate in the 2nd Cancer Management Conference, a mainly clinical conference hosted by the International Union Against Cancer (UICC) in Antwerp, and the exciting 2nd UICC World Conference for Cancer Organisations, hosted in Atlanta by the American Cancer Society.
This triennial conference brought together professional staff and volunteers delivering cancer control programs from all over the world.


Meeting and talking to overseas colleagues expanded his understanding of the range of options and possibilities in cancer control and equipped him with an armoury of innovative strategies and tactics, a number of which were soon listed for discussion in appropriate interstate and intrastate forums.

As well as drawing regularly on the knowledge and contacts he gained during the Fellowship in the intervening period, he has been able to implement of a range of innovations including, inter alia;
o Cancer Connect – a one to one peer support program (now being adopted nationally) based on Canadian Cancer Society methodology.
o The Tasmanian Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance – also a Canadian idea which brings together NGOs concerned with the same disease indicators.
o Caner PLUS (Parents Like Us) – a family oriented paediatric support program based on Irish and Norwegian Cancer Society concepts.
o Relay for Life – an American Cancer Society developed 24 hour fundraising and awareness event which last year raised more than $1 per head for support and information services in Tasmania.