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Conference March 6th - 7th 2015, Christchurch

'Navigating your way through hereditary breast and ovarian cancer' - proudly brought to you by The Gift of Knowledge

On Friday 6th and Saturday 7th March at Riccarton Park, Christchurch, The Gift of Knowledge will be hosting people from all over New Zealand who are impacted by Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer, specifically the BRCA mutation. Medical practitioners and the public will be coming together to share experiences, increase their understanding, learn about advancements in this field, have questions answered and meet others in similar situations.

Whether you are BRCA+, high risk, fighting cancer, considering being tested, a supporter, family member, parent of a high risk person, or a health care provider - this conference has something for you.



  • Genetic testing - when, how and the impact that technology is having
  • Surveillance or surgery - what are the latest risk reducing options?
  • Research and clinical trials - what's happening where, what's available to us and when?
  • Medical menopause
  • Breast cancer 
  • Breast reconstruction - what's available and how can we access it?
  • Ovarian cancer - what's new?
  • The field of fertility
  • The role of nutrition in cancer
  • Insurance - what's available and how do I protect myself and my family?
  • Discussing it with your children - when, how?
  • Back by popular demand - 'Beryl and Sheryl' (bare all and share all).  Your chance to see various stages of breast reconstructions first hand. 


Be prepared to hear from the best of the best.  We have an impressive line up for professionals from all throughout New Zealand coming to share their expertise with us. Over the two days you will hear from a range of experts who specialise in their field and understand hereditary breast and ovarian cancer and the decisions that this presents.  Our speakers include - 

Mr Jeremy Simcock,  Plastic and  Reconstructive Surgeon, Senior Lecturer

Dr Logan Walker, Research Fellow, Principal Investigator Mackenzie Cancer Research Group

Professor Bridget  Robinson,  Medical Oncologist

Associate Professor Peter Sykes and Gynaecological Oncologist

Dr Sarah  Wakeman, Medical Director, Fertility Associates

Dr Anna Fenton, Gynaecological Endocrinologist 

Kaytee Boyd, Director, Balanced Wellbeing New Zealand

Dr Birgit Djikstra, Breast Surgeon

Jan Sullivan, Genetic Associate, Genetic Health Services New Zealand 

John Ashby, Authorised Financial Advisor, Lifetime, with 22 years in the insurance industry 



The attached agenda is a guide only.  While topics are confirmed speakers/times may change at short notice .



The Racecourse Hotel and Motor Lodge is situated on Racecourse Road (directly opposite Riccarton Park, the conference venue).  Studio units are available for $140 per night (1-2 people). To book, email: enquiries@racecoursehotel.co.nz and quote GOK2015. 

Amalfi Riccarton Motor Lodge  is conveniently located in upper Riccarton just 4 kms from Riccarton Park and 10 mins from the airport. Spa units offfered to GOK for $142 per night (including daily transfers to the conference). To book, email stay@amalfimotorlodge.co.nz or call 0508 666 888 (freephone), reference GOK2015.



The Lonely Planet listed Christchurch as number 6 in their top 10 cities to visit in 2013. Container city

Whether you want to tour the city, explore the history, be entertained, enjoy the parks and gardens, be adventurous or simply relax, Christchurch's repairs are well underway and there is lots for you to see and do.  Click on the links below for some ideas - 






We are thankful that we are once again able to offer our four longstanding conference scholarships thanks to Mr Graeme Coom and Mr Neil Chambers, in memory of their respective wives as well as three additional scholarships one gifted by a prvious recipient and the other two gifted by our sponsor Lifetime Group.  The closing date for scholarship applications is Sunday 8th February 2015, all recipients will be notified within the week. 

Dancing Queen

This is a fun, positive upbeat song like the lady it is named after.  The 'Dancing Queen' scholarship has been created to allow two people (one from the North Island and one from the South Island) who without financial support would not be able to attend the conference.  Cancer does not discriminate and nor do we - we want everyone to have the opportunity to learn more about hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.  Like the name of the song, we also want you to come along and enjoy each other's company and have fun, this lady certainly liked to do so!  Come and meet like-minded people who you can stay in touch with, build yourself a support network, look and learn.  To apply for the 'Dancing Queen' scholarship please tell us in no more than three paragraphs why you or someone you know deserves to learn and have some fun.  Email info@giftofknowledge.co.nz with the subject heading 'Dancing Queen'. 

 You’re my Hero

This song suggests there is a hero in all of us.  The lady this scholarship is in memory of was certainly a hero.  She was a hero to her husband, her daughters and her granddaughter.  Mums are heroes and so are the people who tirelessly care for those with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.  Family, friends and all of the wonderful medical professionals throughout the country - they're all heroes.  The scholarship goes to two heroes (one from the North Island and one from the South Island).  We invite you to nominate your hero.  It may be a nurse who goes above and beyond, a volunteer who drives you to and from your appointments, a family member who is there for you night and day.  Would your hero benefit from attending our conference?  If so, tell us in no more than three paragraphs who you hero is and why they deserve this scholarship. Email info@giftofknowledge.co.nz with the subject heading 'Hero'. 

Pay it forward

"Response to a person's kindness to oneself by being kind to someone else: I will take the support I have had and try to pay it forward".  This is how the Oxford Dictionary describes the phrase 'paying it forward' and it perfectly describes what one of our 2012 scholarship recipients is going to do for someone.

This recipient was desperate to attend the 2012 conference, she had lots of questions and new that she would benefit from meeting and talking to others impacted by BRCA. But circumstances meant that is wasn't financially possible for her to attend. She applied and was successful for a scholarship.  She knows how valuable and important it is for people who need this information to attend the conference and therefore wants to pay her scholarship forward now that her circumstances have changed.  How cool!

So if you would like to attend but finances wont allow it, tell us in no more than three paragraphs what this scholarship would mean to you.  Email info@giftofknowledge.co.nz with the subject heading 'pay if forward'. 

Chance of a Lifetime

We are so grateful for the support we have received from Lifetime Group. Without it many of our initiatives in 2014/15 wouldn't have been possible. Our relationship is a perfect match, we are both about having access to the right information to make the right decisions.  With that in mind we have two scholarships on offer from Lifetime (one North Island and the other South Island).  These scholarships are for available for people who are at the begining of their BRCA journey and need access to this important information in order to make decisions that will reduce their risk and ultimately save their life.  If you are thinking about testing or have just recently received a positive BRCA gene mutation result tell us in no more than three paragraphs what having access to this information would mean to you.  Email info@giftofknowledge.co.nz with the subject heading 'chance of a LIFETIME'.



 We are very grateful to our premium sponsor  Lifetime for partnering with us to bring you this conference. 




Earlybird registrations (22nd December - 25 January 2015) - $150.00 per person

Standard registration (26 January - 3 March 2015) - $170.00 per person

Student registration (22 December - 3 March) - $130.00 per person 

 Note - all registrations include full catering (morning, afternoon tea, lunch). 

 To register - http://bit.ly/1JWZ4U8



"I've been to a lot of medical conferences in my 25 years as a specialist nurse and this would have by far been the best organised and most informative conference I have ever attended.  I thoroughly enjoyed it." - Tanya, Auckland nurse

"I was uncertain about whether to attend or not, but I am so pleased that I did.  It was far better than I expected.  Worth every cent.  To be able to listen to those speakers over the course of two days was an amazing opportunity.  I got to ask the gynaecologist and breast surgeon questions that I have been waiting to ask for 18 months.  I have come home feeling well informed about the decision I am going to make." - Amanda, Hamilton

"I was blown away that I had access to all of these amazing experts over two days which would normally take me 2-3 years to access through the public health system or hundreds of dollars in the private system.  The Beryl and Sheryl evening was by far the highlight for me.  Before the conference I didn't know what a TRAM or a DIEP was.  I learnt heaps and I've made some great friends that have helped me through this." - Sarah, Wellington

"I wouldn't hesitate to go to the next one as each time you go, you pick up more information that you may have missed the previous time, also as the years go by different information will become more relevant." - Michele, Hawkes Bay