Grace Gawler Navigating the Cancer Maze | The most important issue we can address – death; the great adventure

On Navigating the Cancer Maze – today – a discussion about death with Rev Dr. Ian Mavor and Dee Hanna from Hopewell hospice and Paradise Kids located on Queensland’s Gold Coast. Listen to or download interview at Voice America Navigating the Cancer Maze.

On Navigating the Cancer Maze – today – a discussion about death with Rev Dr.  Ian Mavor and Dee Hanna from Hopewell hospice and Paradise Kids located on Queensland’s Gold Coast. Listen to or download interview at Voice America Navigating the Cancer Maze

DEATH ADVENTURES: It would to nice to think that all cancer patients could find healing and recovery. I would like to share a recent experience that was a case of breathing life into death!  Prior to my recent visit to Germany, I had the pleasure of being invited one Saturday afternoon to a Death Cafe! I invited a guest and her family to attend with me. They were about to embark upon her journey into death. I will call Death Cafe navigating the cancer mazethis patient Lois. Lois had a highly aggressive brain tumor stage 4 glioblastoma multiforme – she was also a survivor of breast cancer 10 years prior. Following surgery and a recurrence soon after; Lois had successful treatment in Germany. However – she was not the same person that she and others knew, and this was tremendous source of distress to her. Like many patients with a brain tumor, Lois suffered from depersonalization (a state in which one’s thoughts and feelings seem unreal or not to belong to oneself). Medications and therapy did not assist. An intense episode of Shingles that lasted for 6 months followed by seizures and blindness in one eye and then a recurrence of the tumor, finally ‘tipped the scales’……Lois decided enough was enough!  She decided that she wanted to end the suffering and refused further treatment. Lois and her family gained a tremendous amount of information by attending a Death Cafe. Soon she was a patient at Hopewell Hospice and a few weeks later – she died peacefully at the Hospice surrounded by love with friends and family in a conducive atmosphere of candlelight and peace – one of the most well prepared death experiences that I have been privy to. There was openness and disclosure. Nothing was left unsaid nor undone as Lois took her final breath.

The mere mention of a Death Cafe is a definite conversation stopper! This is especially so when friends ask “What are you doing this weekend” and you reply you attending a Death Cafe function! Immediately people imagine a group of people resembling Abby from NCIS!  However – everyone who attended the Death Cafe dressed quite normally and there was not a ‘Goth fashion’ in sight! The format was a discussion by grief counselor Beth O’Brien and funeral director Neil Davis. They spoke openly about all the things death cafeyou likely thought that you would never want to know about death and yet; these are things that one should know. And  – with the room to capacity – it was amazing how the conversation became lively, questioning and engaging. People really wanted to ask more and more questions ….questions that are indeed relevant to us all.

Death is often ‘the elephant in the room that no one wants to discuss’. However it was good to see the topic on the table for discussion on ABC TV ( Australia) last night – so perhaps the Death Cafe is in deed making an impact in bringing death out of the closet.

What is The Death Cafe? It is a global movement where people come together in a relaxed and safe setting to discuss death. It’s not all doom and gloom. The organizers say that sometimes people need to understand death so they can live life to the full.

Have you ever been curious about the end of life experience? At Death Cafe a funeral director and celebrant will be at hand to help bury the taboos. Visit the website:

Interview on Voice America’s Navigating the Cancer Maze:

Who is Rev. Dr Ian Mavor OAM, FACE  – Ian is a former Uniting Church Minister. Much of Ian’s professional life has been in Ian mavor on Navigating the Cancer Mazespecialist roles. Co-Founder and Executive Director Ian serves as Executive Director of Hopewell Hospice Services Inc which includes Hopewell Hospice, Paradise Kids, the Living Well Center and the Hopewell College of Transformative Education. He is a member of the Health Community Council-Gold Coast Health District and a member of the State Council of Palliative Care Queensland. In 2002, Ian was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) “For service to the community through a range of church, social welfare, education and health groups”.

Grace Gawler with Dee Hanna  Hopewell Hospice on navigating the cancer maze

Who is Deirdre Hanna
Dee is the Founder of Hopewell Hospice Services Inc. in 1993, which includes Hopewell Hospice, Paradise Kids Children’s Services, Hopewell Education Services and The Living Well Center.

Recommended viewing: Last night’s segment on ABC TV 7.30 report:  Charter for people who are nearing end of life. View the video at the link below:

DEATH CAFE: For exact location details and bookings for the Brisbane Death Cafe email:

We hope you have found this blog helpful to your life and purpose. Navigating the Cancer Maze is sponsored by the Grace Gawler Institute-  a not for profit registered health promotion charity located in Queensland Australia with a Global outreach  focusing on cancer and life education.