Our Life President is David Kirby OBE who established the OPA in 1985
The Oesophageal Patients Association (OPA) was founded in 1985 by David Kirby following his recovery from oesophageal cancer. Curative treatment involves major surgery which inevitably results in some long term digestive problems. David found that talking to new patients about his own experience was immensely helpful to them as they faced their own treatment, and could improve their attitude of mind. David visited patients in hospital every week for many years and spoke at conferences in the UK and abroad. He was awarded an OBE in 2000 and the OPA has expanded with many groups around the UK. David is the life time President for the OPA.
John Taylor - Chair
John Campolini - Vice Chair
Philip Wright - Acting Secretary
Professor Janusz Jankowski
Stephen Brinkworth - Treasurer
Clinical Advisory Patrons:
John Taylor - Chair
John became aware of the need to consult his GP when he experienced difficulty in swallowing whilst on holiday in Seville in 2010, shortly after his retirement. He had an oesophagectomy in October 2010 after a course of chemotherapy. The CT scan also revealed an enlarged polyp in the colon that was removed surgically at the same time. There were subsequent complications from the removal of the polyp that led to emergency surgery for an infarction of the bowel, a temporary stoma and a subsequent reversal in 2013.
John and his wife Marisol are very grateful for the support they received from the OPA and became active members of the local group. John is now the chair and Sol the secretary of the Leeds Regional group. He is the OPA representative on the NOGCA the National Oesopho-Gastric Cancer Audit and the Oesphago-Gastric Working Group (Cancer Surgery Service Review).
He spent most of his working life in further education and was principal and chief executive of colleges in Sheffield, Leeds. Doncaster and Preston; at Sheffield he was responsible for 1500 staff, 25000 students and a budget of £50 million. He also lectured in colleges in Staffordshire, West Sussex and Cheshire. He is a governor of Leeds Trinity University and a member of the Audit, Governance and Remuneration Committees, chairs St Monica’s Housing Ltd that provides accommodation for asylum seekers and is a trustee of the Charles Plater Trust and chairs its Finance Committee. He was previously a national non-executive director of the Learning and Skills Council that was responsible for the planning and funding of further education with a budget of £11 billion and was a member of the Audit and Capital Committees. He also chaired the British Education Communications and Technology agency charged with the development of information technology in schools and colleges with a budget of £40 million and of Wheatfields Hospice in Leeds and a national board member of the Joint Information Services Committee (JISC) of the Higher Education Funding Agency with a budget of £40 million.
He is married to Sol and they have three children and seven grandchildren. He was a keen sportsman retiring from playing cricket just before his operation and is now an avid spectator following Hull City and Yorkshire CC. He enjoys walking in the Yorkshire Moors and spending time with his grandchildren who live in Epsom, Aboyne, and Leeds.
John Campolini - Vice Chair
John was diagnosed with Oesophageal Cancer, and underwent surgery at St Thomas’ under the great care of Bob Mason and James Gossage plus a whole raft of dedicated and wonderful medical staff. By way of background information John comes from an Italian immigrant family from a small village in the South of Italy and like lots of Italians in the 1930’s who came to the UK where his parents made and sold ice cream! He left school and after a number of jobs from a musician to mechanical engineer in the pharmaceutical industry retired after 36 years in the criminal justice system. John's Italian heritage is very important to him as are his son, daughter and two granddaughters. John has belonged to the Knights of St Columba, a Catholic charity, which looks after the less fortunate in our society for over 51 years and is a licensed radio ham (call sign G0CRI).
Since being cured of his Cancer, John has, at every opportunity when speaking to groups of people, raised awareness of reflux and the consequences of ignoring the problem and at the same time urging people suffering from reflux to ask to be referred to specialists as soon as possible. Sadly John's father died from Oesophageal Cancer over 30 years ago and his 45 year old son is being monitored for the same condition.
"My hope is that we support each other in various ways such as meeting up, having discussion groups, inviting specialist speakers to our meetings"
Philip Wright - Trustee/Acting Secretary
Philip retired in 2015 after 20 years nursing as a second career, before which he had been a curator, researcher, writer and lecturer in the field of art museums and galleries. He is also a carer for his survivor partner who had surgery for oesophageal cancer in 2005. Philip divides his time between London, where he continues occasionally to do some research and writing on the history of art collecting and dealing, and west Wales, where Peter now lives.
Professor Janusz Jankowski - Trustee
MBChB MSc MD PhD PGCE PGCM AGAF FACG FRCP SFHEA
Professor Janusz Jankowski is a doctor, educationalist, researcher, writer and health policy expert. He is a board member of several health and sports charities. His career aim has been to build large global multidisciplinary networks to optimise informed public life choices.
Javed Sultan - Trustee
MSc MD FRCS Consultant Oesophago-Gastric, Bariatric & Laparoscopic Surgeon and Greater Manchester Clinical Lead for Oesophgo-Gastric Cancer
Javed Sultan started his consultant career in 2014 at Guildford, to help expand and develop the regional oesophago-gastric cancer unit for Surrey. He was a Consultant Surgeon at the largest internationally renowned Northern Oesophago-Gastric Cancer Unit (Newcastle upon Tyne) prior to his appointment at the Royal Surrey County Hospital.
Stephen Brinkworth - Trustee/Treasurer
Born in Cardiff, spent my childhood in the Rhondda Valley, where I attended the local Grammar School, before attending Cardiff University to study economics.
On leaving University, joined NatWest Bank when I spent the next 31 years, initially working in various Branches in S Wales and Bristol, before moving to London in 1984 to a Head Office Dept. Took early retirement in 2003 following the Bank's acquisition by RBS.
Upon leaving the Bank, joined the local NHS Hospital and spent 6 years as a Project Manager implementing several HR related projects.
In 2010, diagnosed with Oesophageal cancer, but fully recovered following surgery at the Royal Surrey Hospital in Guildford.
A keen sportsman over the years, having played a high level of Soccer and then Squash, and has now progressed to Lawn Bowls, and spends many hours each week on the Bowls green, not only playing but is involved in the greenkeeping duties of his local Club.
Also involved as the Treasurer for a local Probus Club, and still involved with the local Squash Club as Treasurer/Secretary.
Edward Cheong - Clinical Advisory Patron
Ed is a consultant oesophagogastric and laparoscopic surgeon at the Norfolk & Norwich University Foundation Trust, who specialises in minimally invasive oesophagectomy (MIO) for cancer. Ed graduated from the University College Cork in Ireland, did his specialist registrar surgical training in the Eastern region in England, and then he completed a year fellowship in minimally invasive oesophagectomy in Pittsburgh, USA with Professor J. Luketich. The year Ed spent at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in Pittsburgh was the most illuminating time of his career. It enabled him to set up MIO and endoscopic treatment for early oesophageal cancer, such as radiofrequency ablation of the oesophagus and endoscopic mucosal resection. Ed is also the Upper GI Cancer Lead at the Norfolk & Norwich University Foundation Trust. For the last four years, they changed the way things were done for oesophageal and gastric cancer surgery; and today they have one of the best outcomes after oesophageal and gastric cancer surgery in UK. Outside work, Ed love sports! He does long distance running (Half marathons races) and cycling; Ed used to play international school rugby, and now he watches rugby and football with great interest.
Grant Fullerton - Clinical Advisory Patron
Grant is the lead Oesophago-Gastric Consultant Surgeon in Glasgow Royal Infirmary with major interests in management of malignant and complex benign upper GI disease. Grant is an Associate Professor of Clinical Surgery with extensive research interest in benign and malignant upper GI disease. His particular interest is in the field of Barretts oesophagus including its role in cancer development and treatment with Radiofrequency Ablation.
Fiona Wade - Charity Patron
Personal message from Fiona Wade:
“Some years ago I lost my father to oesophageal cancer. He was such an amazing person, the best father I could ever wish for and it was so sad and shocking when he was diagnosed. I had never heard of this type of cancer before and I always feel to this day that if we had been more aware of oesophageal cancer or reflux disease then for sure earlier diagnosis would have made a huge difference and maybe saved his life.
Early diagnosis by spreading awareness is absolutely key in saving lives from this cancer, so please help us to carry on doing all we can to make people more aware and help us to save lives and to support and reassure every patient who needs our help. Thank you.”