Meet The Team

CEO/Founder Georgina Mason

Georgina Mason's Story

I set up this charity in 2013, after receiving a total colectomy (the removal of my entire large bowel). At the tender age of 32, I had been to see my doctor for blood in the toilet after each bowel motion. My doctor dismissed me from her office, saying I had eaten something that had caused internal scratching.

I was sent home with ointment and told to stop being silly after getting upset.

I did not realise at this stage this was the first signs of ulcerative colitis which, if not monitored and managed correctly, had a high risk of developing into bowel cancer.

Even though the symptoms persisted, I was too embarrassed to go back to a doctor and carried on with work and raising my three-year-old daughter.

Four months after my initial doctor visit I was diagnosed with typhoid based Salmonella food poisoning.

The combination of food poisoning and ulcerative colitis resulted in an emergency surgery to remove my colon which had swelled to the point it was going to perforate.

Seven months after my emergency surgery I received a call from the hospital saying they had finally found a time for me to have a colonoscopy.

I had been on a waiting list since my first visit to A&E after contracting the Salmonella food poisoning.

This procedure would have detected the colitis if it was available to me when I first visited my doctor nearly a year before.

The waiting list for these life-saving tests takes too long in New Zealand as we don't have enough trained colorectal nurses and gastroenterologists here.

The ones we do have often get poached and go overseas as there is an international shortage.

With the rollout of the Nationwide Bowel Screening Program, more bowel cancers will be detected.

Unfortunately, the criteria for current screening is only available for those Kiwi's aged 60 to 74 years old. Only around 36% of bowel cancers registered in NZ are currently found in this age group.

This is why I have dedicated the rest of my life to help find complementary ways to reduce colonoscopy waiting lists for those Kiwi's who do not qualify under the government's screening criteria.

I want to find ways to help rehabilitate patients back to good health and prevent secondary illnesses, and find the latest treatments available worldwide that we can bring back and use here in New Zealand.

We need to make a difference here in New Zealand

Each of us has a different journey to travel when it comes to bowel cancer. Some longer than others, some shorter than others and some fraught with obstacles and hurdles.

Whatever your journey you can feel safe in the knowledge there is a huge network of surgeons, nurses and advocates out there to help you.

We have a network of colorectal surgeons and nurses that contribute content and advice to this website and to the Bowel Cancer Foundation Trust.

I am one of the lucky ones, through unusual circumstances I found symptoms in time. Some people don't even display symptoms so regular screenings after the age of 50 are really important.

I have had a colostomy bag on my side, two major reversal surgeries to create an internal J-pouch, cried every time I set foot in a hospital, educated myself about ulcerative colitis and subsequent bowel cancer, learned what to eat and what not to eat and that exercise really does make a difference!

As a solo mum, the hardest part of my journey was at times not feeling strong enough to care for my daughter.

Nothing is more important than the strong network of family, friends and those who have travelled the path before you.

If you have stories to share as a patient, caregiver, nurse or surgeon I invite you to please contact me directly through our contact page or via email (georgina@bowelcancerfoundation.org.nz).

If we work together, donate together and help each other, we can all make a tremendous difference.

Our Team

Photo of Georgina Mason

Georgina Mason

CEO/Founder

Photo of Greg Randall

Greg Randall

Digital Strategy Partner

Photo of Rawdon Christie

Rawdon Christie

Media Consultant

Photo of Ashley Church

Ashley Church

Media Consultant

Photo of Callum Macdonald

Callum Macdonald

Chartered Accounts

Photo of Sergei Filippov

Sergei Filippov

Digital Specialist

Latest Posts

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Charity Achievements

Key milestones reached by Bowel Cancer Foundation Trust

$1.1million

Dollars distributed in the last 12 months to fund research and provide equity of care and better patient outcomes

195

Bowel cancer survivors rehabilitated after gruelling treatment helping to reduce cancer re-occurrence

109+

Bowel screening kits provided to Kiwi’s who do not qualify for free public screening to detect bowel cancer early

7+

Years we've been making a difference for bowel cancer patients in New Zealand