CLL Advocates NZ Newsletter Issue 4

Friends of CLL Advocates NZ

This month is Blood Cancer Awareness Month, so it was a good opportunity to reflect on collaboration, networking, and resource sharing between CLL Advocates New Zealand and other blood cancer patient support groups, which like us, are working to better understand and treat these disorders, and support those with them.

A recent and significant example of this is a current, and near complete, project of launching our ‘CLL Guide for Patients’ booklet. We have worked with and drawn upon the resources of Leukaemia Care, a national UK blood cancer support charity, to adapt their patient booklet for a New Zealand CLL setting. Within the next month CLLANZ will be launching this CLL patient guide. Leukaemia and Blood Cancer NZ (LBC) will also be launching an updated version of their own CLL booklet.

Education and learning are a major part of the way forward in your CLL journey, so I encourage you to access a copy of our booklet, which will be available in both hard copy and as a PDF download on our website. I’m sure you will find it an informative resource.

A lot of work has gone into the CLLANZ booklet, and I would like to thank Dr Gillian Corbett, Catherine Isaac, and Heather Phillips for their great work in putting the document together.

Following on from education and learning, the CLLANZ inaugural patient seminar is this coming month. Three of NZ’s experts on CLL will speak, followed by a panel discussion and questions. This is a joint event with LBC, at the LBC headquarters in Auckland, or on Zoom from anywhere, to be held on Wednesday 14 October. Registration and details can be found on our website here.

In support of other CLL patient support groups, I want to remind you of the resources and networking available globally including groups such as PatientPower and HealthUnlocked. These websites have a lot of useful information and their patient networks, while in a global setting, are very active. You can join the HealthUnlocked global community here, which boasts just under 16,000 members, and access the PatientPower CLL online events here.

There are also regular teleconferences, and other educational activities, which we have now started listing on our website here in a new events section. Many of these events are international webinars held at difficult times of the day for most of us here in New Zealand. So, we are working to access recordings of these to share with you to watch on-demand.

Another CLL group was also recently formed – Doctors with CLL, which I have joined. I will keep you posted on developments here. The umbrella organisation is CLLAN (CLL Advocates Network), based in Europe, and the organisers of the conference I attended in Edinburgh a year ago. CLLAN coordinates the activities of these groups, and there is a lot of information on their website.

There are a number of other activities also underway that I have shared recently, and which you hopefully you have in your diaries:

  • Survey on participation in drug trials.
  • Dr Karen Oldfield’s PhD research project questionnaire on medical marijuana use in NZ.
  • Shared experiences within our group, of second malignancies that they have had in addition to their CLL.

Thank you to all of you who have been posting and engaging with material on our Private Facebook Group. Engagement from patients and supporters helps others feel confident about sharing their own stories, struggles and questions, so I encourage you to please use this platform to share resources, ask questions and comment and engage with one another. This activity will go on to help us grow the group.

Finally, the general election is this coming month. An important issue for CLL patients is funding of medications. I encourage you to look at the health policies of the significant parties and put attention on their position on Pharmac funding. A good website to look at all parties and their policies all at once is You can link directly to the health funding policies here.

Best wishes

Neil Graham