Breast cancer ambassador Raelene Boyle to kick start 14th National Rural Health Conference

08 March 2017

Medal-winning Olympian and breast cancer survivor Raelene Boyle AM MBE will headline the pre-Conference events that will kick-start the 14th National Rural Health Conference in Cairns this April.

As an ambassador and founding board member of Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA), the peak national organisation for women and men personally affected by breast cancer, Raelene will speak at the ‘Breast Cancer Treatment, Care and Looking After Yourself’ forum.

“I’m delighted to be involved in the conference and help people who have been diagnosed with breast cancer and are adjusting to their new normal after their diagnosis, which is something I once had to do myself.  

“We know that people living in rural and remote communities can sometimes have trouble accessing treatment and support, so it’s great to be able to connect them with health services and information but also other people going through a similar experience,” said Raelene.

Raelene’s remarkable career as a track and field athlete saw her represent Australia at both the Olympic and Commonwealth levels, securing 12 medals and numerous records over a 15-year period.

In 1996, Raelene was diagnosed with breast cancer followed by ovarian cancer four years later.

“I think it’s really important women have access to treatment, care and support when they are diagnosed with breast cancer or any other disease, but it’s also important they connect with other women facing a similar journey. Having a strong personal network really helped me when I was diagnosed with breast cancer,” she said.

Another of the Pre-Conference workshops will discuss the opportunities and pitfalls of the NDIS, led by Roland Naufal, Director of Disability Services Consulting, a group involved in the National Disability Insurance Scheme since its design phase.

“Issues of access, collaboration, economics and evidence are key themes for this Cairns Conference and some of the most important for the rapidly developing NDIS. Our workshop will include an overview of where the scheme is at for rural providers, highlight service delivery models that work and offer a forum to discuss the critical issues and challenges for rural organisations,” said Roland.

There’s still the chance to be part of the extensive pre-Conference program and the Conference itself.  

For a full list of pre-conference events visit:

Media Enquiries: 

David Butt, Chief Executive Officer:  0411 474 912 / 02 6285 4660
Leanne Coleman, Conference Manager: 0407 991 854