Pat Wilkes retires from Board after 20 years of service
Pat Wilkes is stepping down from his role as Deputy Chair of the Board.
Pat first became involved as a volunteer in 2002 after his daughter Eilish was diagnosed with a brain tumour.
He joined the Auckland branch in 2002 to both give and receive support from other families, which led to him becoming branch chair and then regional chair, a role which gave him a seat on the National Board in 2008.
The following year, Pat was elected as Deputy Chair, a role he has held for the last 14 years.
Pat was instrumental in cementing the organisation under one umbrella as a national body, uniting our branches through countless meetings around New Zealand.
He was also pivotal in securing national support for the Child Cancer Foundation Personal Development Grant fund. Pat has helped grow the fund and chaired the Personal Development Grant committee for many years.
Through everything that Pat has contributed to the Foundation, his compassion for the families we support has always shone through. Pat is often considered the voice on the Board for children and families – they are always at the forefront of his decision making.
Child Cancer Foundation would not be in the position it is today without Pat’s quiet, unassuming leadership style, steely determination to do the right thing and selfless acts of compassion in helping others.
Thank you, Pat, for everything you have done for tamariki with cancer and their whānau throughout the past 22 years.
Five minutes with Pat Wilkes
What moment stands out to you as a highlight from your involvement with Child Cancer Foundation?
Being given a Child Cancer Foundation Life Membership award in 2017. I felt the real Life Members were the children who are diagnosed with cancer, and I felt so honoured to have an honorary membership of this very special group.
Attending the Board meeting in 2013 when I had pledges from our regional branches to enable the Board to set up a capital fund to protect the Personal Development Grant program. When this was finally completed, the fund totaled $2.5 million.
What has inspired you to give back to Child Cancer Foundation for all these years?
I am not sure I ever thought in terms of giving back. My inspiration was that the more families we met, the more we realised how many were decimated both emotionally and financially by a childhood cancer diagnosis.
Before we ever met Child Cancer Foundation, I was aware of the organisation and the vision that no family on the childhood cancer journey should ever feel alone.
What are you most proud of from your time as a Child Cancer Foundation Board member?
I am proud of the Board members I have served with. Whatever the issue, we have always acted in the best interests of the families and the Foundation. I never wanted another family to feel as isolated as we felt, and I have always endeavored to be their voice at the Board table.
As the years have moved on, I have increasingly been in awe of the parents and medical professionals who started the organisation and have appreciated the vision of those people who saw the unique need for the support a family needed when they have a child with cancer.
What’s next for you?
My love for and belief in this amazing charity has been a constant in my 20 years of involvement. I have been asked to remain on the Personal Development Grant Committee and Awards Committee as an appointed committee member.
In my personal life, I will continue to do what has been my priority over the last 25 years, which is to support and care for my daughter to live the best life she can for as long as she can, and to spend time with my wife Kathie, our older children and my grandchildren.
When Eilish was diagnosed, we quickly realised the implications of a brain tumour. I remember saying to Kathie that we have a job for life. We have been on this roller coaster for 24 years, and, as predicted so many years ago, it is a job for life with no regrets.
It has been an absolute honour to serve with so many amazing people, including the staff, Board, parents and volunteers. I also want to acknowledge that Kathie and Eilish have been my support system in being so involved in Child Cancer Foundation.
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