Laura came to know Childhood Cancer Support through her relationships with some of our young residents, who are keen netball fans. Seeing the benefit and incredible services that Childhood Cancer Support have on offer, alongside the impact childhood cancer has on regional families, Laura was keen to get on board. Having grown up in the small town of Allora on the Darling Downs, Laura loves chatting with our families about living in the country.
Laura Geitz is one of the most regarded female role models in Australian sport. In 2019 Netball Queensland recognised the enormous contribution that Laura made to the game of netball, naming their prestigious annual Most Valuable Player Award the Laura Geitz Medal.
Laura retired from netball in 2018, having established herself as one of Australia’s greatest players. Competing in two successful Netball World Cup campaigns, winning a Commonwealth Games gold and two silver medals and leading the Queensland Firebirds to domestic Championship titles in 2015 and 2016. Laura forged a consistent and highly distinguished international career with the Diamonds over a ten year period from 2008. In 2013 she was announced as only the second Queenslander to captain Australia’s most successful women’s sporting team in history. Taking a break from the game in 2016 to have her first child Barney Ross Gilbride, Laura triumphantly returned to the game to represent Australia at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.
Laura grew up in the small country town of Allora on the Darling Downs where she loves to return and spend time with her family. She has strong family values and is well known for her modest and humble ways. She runs a successful business, with fellow Firebird and Diamond, Clare McMeniman offering high performance coaching clinics to aspiring young athletes through their hugely successful “Fuel2Fly” program.
Laura enjoys working with her corporate partners – Suncorp, Go Healthy, Queensland Country Health Fund, Chemist Warehouse and Tribal Sport whose values are reflective of her healthy lifestyle, love of netball, great outdoors and family. Laura’s depth of knowledge, popularity and charisma have recently secured her commentator roles with Netball Australia, Channel 9 and NewsCorp.
In 2019, Laura and husband Mark welcomed the arrival of their second son Frank Gilbride. In 2021 they welcomed their third child and first daughter, Billie May.
› 71 Caps for Australia
› 169 Caps for Queensland
› 3 Commonwealth Games (Gold and 2 Silver medals)
› 2 World Championships (Gold medals)
› 2013 – 2016 Captain of the Australian Diamonds
› 2013 – 2016 Captain of the Queensland Firebirds
AWARDS AND ACCOLADES
› 2011 Awarded the prestigious Liz Ellis Diamond
Josie combines fifteen years of corporate experience with two decades of coaching and consulting to corporate executives, entrepreneurs, business owners and community leaders. She has held senior positions at BHP and is a multi-award winning coach, international speaker, author, single mother and two-time cancer survivor.
Over the years, Josie has proven herself a dedicated and generous supporter of Childhood Cancer Support, taking every opportunity to fundraise and spread good news about who we are and what we do.
Alongside being a proud Corporate Ambassador for Childhood Cancer Support, Josie has won numerous global awards including the Gold Stevie Award for Maverick of the Year (Difference Maker) for 2014 and 2015, and she received an Award for Global Humanitarian in 2019.
A portion of Josie’s proceeds from her inspiring and motivational products return to Childhood Cancer Support. You can view her story and her videos and interviews here.
Townsville Family Ambassadors
Tracey and Trevor Rethamel from sunny Townsville are proud parents to their 3 gorgeous daughters (Chloe, Sophie and Lucy). Tracey works as a primary school teacher and Trevor is a WHS advisor/project manager. The pair lead busy lives with their active daughters aged between 13 and 22, but love spending time catching up with friends and family and supporting the Cowboys at their home games.
Unfortunately, the Rethamel’s know the devastation of cancer better than most, with Tracey herself surviving osteosarcoma cancer as a teenager which resulted in a below knee amputation followed by 18 months of chemotherapy. In addition, in 2014 their youngest daughter Lucy was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL). The words “your child has cancer” are words that no parent should ever have to hear. She was 8 years old. For 9 continuous months, Lucy had to endure life saving treatment in Brisbane.
Their home away from home during this time was Childhood Cancer Support in Herston. It was during their stay that the Rethamel’s say they came to realise what a unique and essential organisation Childhood Cancer Support is to families of children diagnosed with cancer. “I dare not imagine what our experience would have been like without Childhood Cancer Support and its’ support”, says Tracey. “Not only were we provided with the comfort of a fully furnished 2 bedroom unit, but there were numerous other support facilities available when we needed them”.
During their 9 months with Childhood Cancer Support, Tracey says their family was fortunate to meet some incredibly courageous children, and their families. “They, as well as the staff of Childhood Cancer Support, became like family to us. In fact, we like to call these friends our Childhood Cancer Support family”.
Now that the Rethamel family are back home in Townsville, they are on hand to assist other childhood oncology families when they return home. The Rethamels hope that through their ambassador role, they can create much-needed awareness about Childhood Cancer Support in their local community and raise vital funds for the organisation. “We are committed in doing this, so that other families like ours, continue to receive the support and stability that are so valuable at such a desperate time”.
Mackay Family Ambassador
Bert has been a Family Ambassador for the Mackay region for 7 years. He is involved in expanding the awareness of Childhood Cancer Support through events such as Camp Crystal, Coffee Cake & Chat, Mackay Charity Ride, Mackay Regional Childhood Cancer Support Christmas Party, The Rotary Great Community fundraiser.
Past events being Mackay Raft Race, 1KG Challenge. This year we have added two new events which are supporting Childhood Cancer Support being Postie Bike Safari and Rumble on the Reef.
Mackay Family Ambassador
Kris is a busy Mum of 4, with 3 grandchildren.
In August 2014 her only son was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia.
When they arrived home after completing his initial treatment, they were introduced to Childhood Cancer Support.
When Kris’ family needed to travel to Brisbane for treatment, Childhood Cancer Support was right there offering accommodation, transport and support.
Kris enjoyed the coffee morning catch ups with local families every month, the Christmas parties and other events that were organised to help her family socialise back out into the world as a family.
Kris was very humbled when she was asked to take on an Ambassador’s role for the Mackay region and said she is proud to be able to support other paediatric oncology families in her region. She has taken on the responsibility of monthly Coffee, Cake and Chat events held once a month at All Abilities Mackay.
South Burnett Family Ambassador
Casey and her 3 children moved into Childhood Cancer Support’s Herston units on Christmas
Eve 2009. Her family stayed with Childhood Cancer Support for 8 months while her youngest child, Logan, received treatment at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Brisbane. On return to Mackay, Casey was approached to help run the Mackay Raft Race, which she did from 2010 to 2017 and has collectively helped raise over $100,000.
Casey was P & C President for 6 years and heavily involved in her local community from Hall committees to Fishing competitions while living in the Mackay district.
In 2019 she moved her family to the South Burnett region to be closer to her family. Her goal is to establish a South Burnett support group in the region for other families who have travelled the cancer journey with their child.
Moving to a position on the Board has always been a long-term goal of Casey’s. She is a member of the Family Services sub-committee and is a huge advocate for kids with cancer and the long-term effects it has on the child and the family. Casey’s long-term goals on the board are to complete the Childhood Cancer Support family units establishment on the southside of Brisbane within walking distanced to the QCH.
Logan is currently entering his 11th year of cancer free living and Casey’s 12th year of advocating for Childhood Cancer Support.
Gold Coast Family Ambassadors
Stuart and Leanne Love are parents to 3 children – Mishae, Jacob and Emma. Stuart and Leanne operate their own business, a Registered Training Organisation Aurora Training Institute, that assists Queenslanders achieve nationally recognised qualifications to help gain employment or advance their careers.
Their first contact with Childhood Cancer Support was in 2010 after Emma was diagnosed with a Rhabdomyosarcoma in her head and neck. Over the next 2.5 years Emma endured 15 surgeries, 14 different chemotherapy rounds and 55 hits of radiation. Needless to say, the Love Family spent quite a lot of time away from home and found the services provided by Childhood Cancer Support invaluable.
Stuart and Leanne have been fundraising for Childhood Cancer Support for over 8 years now through charity lunches and The Ride for Love, now an annual event partnership between the Gold Coast HOG Chapter and Childhood Cancer Support.
Brisbane Family Ambassadors
Angela and Mick Watego are from Manly West in Brisbane. Mick works as a Campground Maintenance Manager over at beautiful Stradbroke Island. Angela has a background in office administration and as recently graduated from study with a Diploma of Nursing. Angela is looking forward to a new career direction, to give back with quality nursing like their son received.
They have two children – Byron and Makhiyah. Byron was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL) in 2008 at 17 months of age and relapsed again in 2013 requiring a bone marrow transplant.
During their 11 year journey they have been closely associated with Childhood Cancer Support, finding the variety of services offered by Childhood Cancer Support as well as being with other families experiencing similar situations very supportive and therapeutic for the whole family.
Byron recently celebrated 5 years cancer free since transplant and the Watego family are looking forward to being a part of Childhood Cancer Support’s Ambassador program. They are honoured to be giving back to such an amazing organisation and to providing support to the families involved with Childhood Cancer Support.