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06 Feb 2023

Australia Day Honours for visionary Garvan supporter

Jane Hemstritch has been appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for her service to medical research, the arts and business.

Jane Hemstritch AO (centre) with Marina Pajic and Mara-Jean Tilley

A prominent member of the Garvan community was recognised in the 2023 Australia Day Honours List for her distinguished service to society.

Jane Hemstritch was presented with an AO for her outstanding contribution through her roles in medical research, the arts and business. She was among 736 Australians to be recognised in the General Division of the Order of Australia this year.

Since losing her husband to pancreatic cancer in 2010, Mrs Hemstritch has dedicated herself to raising funds to support pancreatic cancer research. Her fundraising team, 'Team Phil', was established in 2011 in memory of her late husband, Philip. The team ran marathons in 2011, 2012 and 2013 to raise awareness and support for the Australian Pancreatic Cancer Genome Initiative.

In 2012, Mrs Hemstritch also started the Philip Hemstritch Fellowship in Pancreatic Cancer Research at Garvan. Associate Professor Marina Pajic, at the time an early career scientist, was the recipient and continues to be supported by the Fellowship. She now co-leads Garvan’s precision medicine for cancer program and is working on a new targeted treatment for patients with pancreatic cancer.

“We’re immensely grateful to have Jane as one of our champions and for her enduring commitment to our team’s research in pancreatic cancer,” says Associate Professor Pajic.

“With her foundational support we are making major inroads toward finding better, more personalised treatment options for patients with this tough-to-treat disease.”

“Having lost both my husband Phil and his father Reg to pancreatic cancer I am passionate about research into treatments for this intractable disease. It has been an absolute delight to see Marina’s progress and to support her efforts,” says Mrs Hemstritch.

“Without its community of dedicated supporters, the Garvan Institute would not be able to deliver the vital research breakthroughs that mean so much to millions of people affected by disease. We congratulate Jane on this national recognition of her longstanding dedication to medical science,” says Garvan Research Foundation Director Mara-Jean Tilley.

The Australian honours and awards system was created in 1975.