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 Campolini - Chair
Philip Wright - Vice Chair
Stephen Brinkworth - Honorary Treasurer
Professor Janusz Jankowski
Clinical Advisory Patrons:
John Campolini - 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 - Vice Chair
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.
Sid Rananaware - Trustee
Father to two children, 12&9-year olds. By registration I am a Chartered Engineer and work as Project Manager in the Oil & Gas industry.
Diagnosed with very early stage oesophageal cancer at the age of 39 by Dr Vijayan in Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. Successful Oesophagectomy in Feb 2018 by Dr A Qadir and Dr N Shay. I had post-operative complications (Pneumonia, ARDS, Infections, Organ failures, survived only by ECMO treatment) spent a month in the ICU mostly in coma. I went deep down the roller-coaster (and took whole family with me), came out happily and proud. Since coming home from hospital in wheel chair, learning to walk, and do basic things from scratch like a toddler, I have done 70 international flights, worked in three different countries, travelled extensively on work, did a lot of DIY maintenance for my family house in Aberdeen during this lockdown. It has been a long journey in a short time and couldn't be prouder of my family; and support I have received everywhere.
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.”