Shirley Baxter – Cancer survivor and consumer reviewer
Shirley Baxter - Cancer survivor and consumer reviewer
In 2000, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It took me by complete surprise (an experience I think I share with a lot of people who get diagnosed). Because the cancer was aggressive, it was all very touch and go, and I had to go through 10 months of chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery.
When my treatment finished, I realised that survivorship comes with its own set of challenges. Suddenly, you don’t have the help of your team of specialists, and you look and feel very different.
I definitely think that the experience gave me a different outlook on life. I feel stronger, and while that may sound strange, I feel like I’ve emerged at the other end as a different person. I have a new-found appreciation for life – every day matters.
After the experience of cancer, I also realised I wanted to give back. I got involved with Cancer Council NSW, first by doing their wonderful advocacy training in conjunction with Cancer Voices NSW, which really ignited my passion for consumer advocacy. I then completed the consumer review panel training and was invited to become a consumer reviewer of the research that the organisation funds.
Cancer Council NSW has an extremely robust review process in place – it ensures that projects get reviewed both based on their scientific merit and according to their relevance to the community.
Our panel of consumer reviewers is very diverse – we come from all sorts of backgrounds. We are really passionate about having a voice in the selection of the best projects. We debate all applications, because we really want to ensure that we choose projects with real-world impact and benefits. We all have enormous respect for the researchers behind the projects.
Cancer Council would like to know what you think about our information resources for people affected by cancer. Please share your thoughts with us by completing the survey using the button below. It will take around 10 minutes.