BCAC is administered by a committee of women, most of whom have had breast cancer. Their experience of breast cancer has motivated them to dedicate themselves to improving the care and treatment other newly diagnosed women receive.

Our committee members are:


Libby Burgess - Chair 

Libby Burgess chairs BCAC, a charity that supports, informs and represents New Zealanders with breast cancer. She serves as a patient representative on the Breast Special Interest Group of NZ specialists and is an affiliate member of Breast Cancer Trials (Australia and New Zealand). Libby has been a member of the Consumer Reference Group of New Zealand's Cancer Control Agency, Te Aho o te Kahu. She has actively campaigned on a range of breast cancer issues including access to screening, timely diagnosis and treatment, innovative medicines, provision of breast reconstructive surgery and equitable access to high quality cancer services for all New Zealanders. She has contributed to Guidelines for the Treatment of Early Breast Cancer and Standards of Service Provision for Breast Cancer Patients in New Zealand. Libby was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 41. She is a biological scientist based in Auckland, New Zealand and was made a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) in 2011 for services to women's health.


Emma Crowley - Deputy Chair

Emma works for an employment law firm in downtown Auckland. She was diagnosed with HER2+ breast cancer in 2012 at age 24. Emma wants to see all breast cancer patients in New Zealand have access to the best quality care and medicines available globally. She is also interested in health policy and the law surrounding this. Emma is Chair of the Consumer Advisory Panel of Cancer Trials NZ. She is also a member of the Consumer Advisory Panel of the Australasian research group Breast Cancer Trials (Australia and New Zealand). 


Fay Sowerby - Secretary

Fay joined BCAC in 2015 because she sees an ongoing need to improve: outcomes for Maori and Pasifika women, access to medicines and medical devices, research and clinical trials for breast cancer patients in New Zealand. Fay is Chair of Breast Cancer Cure (2009-Present) which funds research through the Breast Cancer Research in New Zealand Partnership, is a member of the Health Research Council Research Assessment Committee (2013-Present) and a member of Breast Cancer Trials Communication and Fundraising Committee. Fay advocates for research to improved early detection, predictive and prognostic diagnosis with the discovery and development of new targeted treatments and prevention. Fay was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013. Earlier in her career she was a consultant and Director with KPMG and KPMG Consulting for 20 years, later managing her own consultancy and was a Crown Owned Entity board member. Fay and her husband Warren have two adult daughters, and four grandchildren. She seeks to retain a balanced lifestyle while supporting family and improving outcomes for New Zealand women.


Louise Malone - Treasurer 

Dr Louise Malone is BCAC's treasurer. Whilst she has not had breast cancer herself, Louise has many close friends who have. She is motivated by a desire to help ensure that New Zealand women receive world-class, scientifically-supported treatment for breast cancer, and a wish that the voices of those with cancer be heard and taken seriously by decision-makers. Louise is a retired scientist with more than 70 peer-reviewed publications in the field of agricultural entomology.



Rowena Mortimer

Rowena was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005. She lives in Coatesville with her husband Barry and has two adult children. Rowena is a partner in the law firm Lewis Mortimer Law based in Browns Bay, Auckland and firmly believes that cancer patients deserve a better deal than they are receiving at the moment. Her aim is to advocate on behalf of breast cancer and all cancer patients to improve all aspects of their care. In her spare time she walks, watches dressage, thinks about taking up squash and loves to travel.


Philippa Reed

Philippa is Partnerships Manager at CanTeen Aotearoa, which has now joined BCAC as a member group. Philippa was previoulsy CEO of Sweet Louise, having had senior roles in diversity and inclusion, also as CEO of the EEO Trust (now Diversityworks), and the University of Auckland and KPMG.


Catrin Devonald

Catrin is from Cardiff in the UK but having travelled extensively has now settled in New Zealand with Auckland as her home. With a wealth of experience in the not-for-profit industry, Catrin joined Sweet Louise as CEO in April 2020. She has worked with cancer charities, mainly in campaigning, marketing and fundraising roles, both here and in the UK for more than 10 years. She is motivated by her experiences supporting two close friends with their breast cancer diagnoses. "I was amazed and horrified at the differences in treatment and care afforded to my two friends only because they lived in different parts of the country. It is really important that we combine to achieve the best we can for anyone in NZ with breast cancer and becoming part of BCAC is a vital step to strengthening the voice for patients country wide. Anything we can do as a coalition to access better and consistent treatment for patients is a win for those who need it."


Tanya Newman

Tanya was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016, at around the same time her mother was diagnosed with cancer. From this time on she became very interested in health and wellbeing, and complementary approaches to healing, as well as best practice conventional medicine. She is passionate about ensuring all women with breast cancer have the opportunity to receive the best information, treatment and support they can. She is head of counselling at an Auckland secondary school and prior to this was a teacher for many years. Tanya has an adult daughter. She loves walking, yoga and meditation, and cooking.


Maria Marama

Iwi affiliations: Te Arawa/Ngati Whakaue/Cook Islands

Maria is an experienced kaupapa Maori research and evaluation practitioner working over 9 years in this space. She is experienced in all phases of evaluations. As an independent Maori evaluator, she works in partnership with others and in particular on projects which better meet the needs and aspirations of whanau, hapu, iwi and Maori communities. Project span a wide range of sectors including employment, economic development, health, housing and justice. Evauations which she is most proud of are Te Whare Whakapiki Wairua (AODTC) Maori Housing Network, Well Child Tamariki Ora Review because of their potential to impact positively on whanau Maori. Maria's personal health journey and professional experience of helping others to navigate their way through a complex health and disability system enables her to find solutions and think outside of the box. She is an energising connector of people using tikanga and kaupapa Maori ways of engaging with Maori and non-Maori communities. She balances her home and work life with her love of coaching netball. Formal qualifications: BA Sociology/Maori, Dip Adult Teaching, Dip Te Aupiki ki te Reo Kairangi, PG Dip Health/Admin (tbc). Currently enrolled in MA Social Practice.


Ah-Leen Rayner

Ah-Leen is a highly experienced executive who has spent the past 25 years in a range of commercial and general management roles with leading corporations. She was most recently the Executive General Manager of Tourism at KiwiRail, where she developed the Great Journeys of New Zealand brand.  Prior to that, she spent over ten years in sales and marketing positions within listed and family-owned multinational companies with in retail, construction, diversified technology and logistics markets.  Ah-Leen thrives on navigating complex environments, strategy development and is passionate about culture which builds high performing teams.  As CEO Breast Cancer Foundation, Ahleen is delighted to be working with a cause where purpose drives the organisation and makes a fundamental difference in the lives of New Zealand women.


Denise Lemmen

Denise joins the committee with a background of 30 years in banking and customer service. She found out in 2018 that she had breast cancer, unfortunately already advanced. She is one of the admin team of the Metavivors NZ Facebook group, where men and women with advanced breast cancer can freely network with others. She is also a member of Patient Voice Aotearoa, where she advocates for equitable healthcare in New Zealand. She was one of the organisers of the petition to double the Pharmac drugs budget, which was signed by 10 percent of the population. It was presented to Parliament in the rain, where Denise and many others lay down on the grounds of Parliament, with similar happenings all across the country at the same time. She is on the Executive Committee of the Cancer Society in Whangarei, to which she brings a patient voice. She is a wife, mother and grandmother, focused on leaving the world a better place for those that come after her, especially in the realm of funding for modern effective breast cancer treatments.




Rachel Greenwood

Dr Rachel Greenwood is a GP in Invercargill.   She lives in the Catlins with her partner of 25 years and two of their three children, the third now flatting in Invercargill.  In 2023 (aged 53 years) Rachel was diagnosed with incurable breast cancer.  This cancer has occurred between screenings.  In the space of 9 days Rachel went from breast cancer with a 95% possibility of cure to a shortened lifespan.  Rachel quickly realised that not all New Zealand women are being given the best possible standard of care due to oncology waits and the lack of important medications available in other countries.  Rachel decided to join BCAC to add her voice to the push for all New Zealand women to receive specialist appointments and medications as per national and international breast cancer guidelines.