A journey defined by commitment: celebrating our caregivers

20 Oct 2023

In the spirit of National Carers Week, ANZGOG takes a moment to recognise and express gratitude for individuals like Mark McCafferty, whose unwavering commitment to the Survivors Teaching Students (STS) program has had a profound impact on thousands of students across Australia and New Zealand.

Mark has selflessly shared his story in over 40 STS presentations, reaching more than 3000 students. Through his narratives, he sheds light on the crucial role that caregivers play in the lives of those diagnosed with gynaecological cancers, a role often overlooked in our healthcare system.

Mark has been a passionate advocate for the Survivors Teaching Students program since 2017. Coming on board as one of our first volunteers, Mark and his wife Clare have been integral in the establishment of the Western Australia STS program, driven by the challenging journey they have faced since Clare’s ovarian cancer diagnosis in 2016. Mark's dedication stems from a profound desire to ensure that medical and nursing students are well-informed about the symptoms of ovarian cancer, recognising the pivotal role early diagnosis plays in improving survival rates.

“My wife had a very difficult path to her diagnosis of ovarian cancer,” said Mark.

“Ensuring that the medical and nursing students are aware of the symptoms of ovarian cancer is the reason I am involved in STS,” said Mark. “The earlier ovarian cancer is diagnosed, the greater a woman’s chances of survival.” 

Mark said it’s also vital for the students to understand the impact of a loved one’s diagnosis, treatment and care on the family. “Sometimes the caregivers are forgotten, but it’s not only the patient that needs ongoing support, caregivers do too.”

Mark emphasises the emotional toll it takes on caregivers and the often-unseen impact on their mental health. One of the most challenging aspects Mark highlights is the unseen struggle when his wife spends extended periods in bed due to illness. It's a heart-wrenching reality that many caregivers face, unable to alleviate the suffering of their loved ones.


In marking National Carers Week ANZGOG expresses deep gratitude for Mark and Clare's tireless contribution to STS and their ongoing dedication to improving the lives of those with lived experiences gynaecological cancer. Their story serves as an inspiration reminding us all of the profound impact caregivers have on the journey of those facing critical health challenges.