Lyn Swinburne AO

Lyn Swinburne is the founder and National Coordinator of Breast Cancer Network, working hard to make a better future for women with breast cancer.

Honour Roll

Born in Melbourne in 1952, Lyn trained and worked as a primary school teacher. She married and had two children and after a break she returned to her profession.

In 1994 she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Many of her experiences during her treatment made her angry and determined to change the way care and services were delivered to women with breast cancer and their families. She made contact with other women of like mind and with Marcia O'Keefe set up the Breast Cancer Action Group of Victoria. The National Breast Cancer Centre in Sydney, an organisation of professionals set up after a Ministerial Inquiry into the treatment of breast cancer, approached Lyn to join their management committee as a consumer representative.

Her involvement in the breast cancer cause intensified and spread outside Victoria. She persuaded the Breast Cancer Centre to fund the National Conference for Women with Breast Cancer that took place in 1998. Lyn created and realised the concept "A Field of Women" where 10,000 pink and 2,500 white silhouettes of women are planted in the ground to represent the number of women who are diagnosed with breast cancer and the number who die from the disease in Australia every year. The first Field was planted in the lawns of Parliament House Canberra as a finale to the Conference.

The funds raised from sponsorship of the silhouettes provided funding for the needed national peak body for women with breast cancer. In July 1999 Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA) was established. Lyn currently holds the position of National Coordinator, and is the Editor of the Network's free quarterly publication The Beacon. She developed the "A Seat at the Table" project which is internationally recognised as a worldfirst initiative to ensure that women with breast cancer have an effective voice within decision making forums.

Lyn has represented BCNA at several international forums, chairs the BreastCare Victoria's Advisory Committee, is Board Director of the National Breast Cancer Centre, serves on the Australian Cancer Network's Council and the Management Committee of the National Cancer Control Initiative.

Lyn Swinburne says of her work, "I felt the most incredibly strong compulsion to do something with the experiences I had undergone - to make a difference; to make something useful and worthwhile out of my own cancer experience."