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Leading a cancer charity, inspired by lived experience - Monica Briggs

Updated: Feb 22

Around 150 children under 13 get diagnosed with cancer each year in New Zealand. The good news is that more kids are surviving, with an 85% success rate after five years.

Monica Briggs is the CEO of Child Cancer Foundation, her charity steps in where the medical journey gets tough, acknowledging the challenges during treatment and the heartbreak of families who lose a child to cancer. Their mission is clear – supporting these families through the full journey and to improve the cancer care that future families experience.

Monica, is driven to make a positive impact, she is happy to lead the way and she knows firsthand what these families are going through. The Foundation is all about pushing for better outcomes, ensuring fewer parents have to face the devastating loss of a child. They work closely with New Zealand's top-notch paediatric oncology professionals who tailor treatment plans for the unique cancers that affect kids.

Monica points to the success had by New Zealand's paediatric oncologists and clinical teams who are involved in international clinical trials, bringing in treatments all without breaking the bank. Child Cancer Foundation works across the two treatment centres and all the shared care and regional centres nationwide alongside NGOs and puts Tamariki and families at the heart of all their activity. Their team of Family Support Coordinators meet families where they are at, ensuring tailored support is delivered from hospital to home.

Monica and the Foundation understand that no two families face this journey the same way. They're not just focusing on the sick child; they're there for the whole family. Whether it's emotional, practical, or financial support, they've got it covered. The goal is simple: let families focus on what truly matters – loving and caring for their child.

Child Cancer Foundation has a vision – to step up the game in child cancer care while being a support for every child and family on their cancer journey. Their to-do list includes supporting kids with cancer, helping families who've lost a child, boosting the skills of healthcare pros in pediatric oncology, delving into research, and advocating for better support for kids with cancer.

Monica Briggs joins Purposely to talk about her current role and charity leadership more generally. She also talks about her own cancer diagnosis and how this has helped her with her current role. Monica has been a force for good in the for-purpose sector for almost three decades in both New Zealand and the UK. In her spare time, she sits on the board at the Grief Centre.

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