Gail O'Brien (Bamford, 1972)

Congratulations to Old Girl, Gail O’Brien (Bamford, 1972) who was awarded an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in the Australia Day 2018 Honours.

Gail’s AO was awarded for ‘Distinguished service to community health as an advocate for and supporter of cancer sufferers and their families through comprehensive research and treatment programs’.

Gail is Patient Advocate and Board Director at the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, the world-class, fully integrated and comprehensive cancer care facility located across the road from Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and named for Gail’s husband, the late Professor Chris O’Brien, AO whose vision it was. Gail was integral in realising her husband’s dream.

Chris O’Brien was the founder of the Sydney Head and Neck Cancer Institute and was a specialist with an international reputation. Gail was with Chris when he was diagnosed with an aggressive and malignant brain tumour in late 2006. He had five rounds of brain surgery and underwent radiotherapy and chemotherapy, but eventually died in June 2009, with his wife and family at his side. After her husband’s death, and the tragedy that followed two years later with the death of her son Adam after a series of seizures, Gail found the strength to carry on and has worked tirelessly to enhance the care given to patients and their families; to provide a better future for others. The AO recognises Gail’s service and dedication to those whose lives are touched by cancer and is a testament to her incredible generosity and fortitude.

In 2020 Gail was a recipient of an award at the inaugural MLC School Alumnae Awards in the category of Social Welfare and Impact.