Iron women, a mountain challenge, and butterflies —three of our amazing supporters’ stories

Two women, Emma Treadwell and Sarah Hogan, run cross the finish line holding hands high in triumph and grinning.

Sarah Hogan (right) and Emma Treadwell (left) finishing the 2022 Ironman in Port Macquarie, Australia, raising funds for our glioblastoma clinical trial.

Our ambassadors go up mountains, around countries, and push themselves really hard — for our cause, and for New Zealanders who may face brain cancer. These three stories show how wonderful people selflessly raise awareness of our research and the funding it needs. We cherish these three supporters, their amazing stories, and the many other special people who support and inspire us.

Sarah Hogan couldn’t see her father, so she ran the Ironman

Sarah Hogan and her father Pat Hogan are dedicated supporters of the GMRI. Last year, Pat was diagnosed with glioblastoma — the most common and most aggressive form of brain cancer. Sarah was stuck in Australia and couldn’t get home to New Zealand to see him when she heard the news.

So, she decided to run the 2022 Ironman in Port Macquarie with her fellow Iron Women, Emma and Renee. The trio aimed to raise $10,000 for our phase II glioblastoma clinical trial, but netted over $15,000. We’re so grateful for all three of them, their iron will, and for the generosity of those who donated.

New trial to give valuable extra months to hundreds of brain cancer patients|

Nick White climbed a mountain once, and now his team’s climbing the mountain for him

When Nick White had cancer the first time, he spent a year relearning how to speak. Five years after his surgery he ran the Fuji Mountain Race to commemorate his recovery. In the gruelling challenge he covered 21km and climbed 3,776m to the summit. And he raised $6,000 for our research.

When he was diagnosed with cancer a second time, his friends and colleagues at Xero decided to replicate his Fuji Mountain Race in New Zealand and raise funds for our work. They hoped to motivate Nick in his treatment and recovery, and have raised over $7,000 so far.

Visit the team’s donation page |

Peter Besseling, the ‘Butterfly Man’, travels Aotearoa New Zealand

Peter has been one of our ambassadors for some time now. He lost his wife Lyn to glioblastoma. Since her passing, he’s travelled the country in a campervan covered in the GMRI’s paua butterfly logo, raising awareness of our research.

The 76-year-old helping a medical researcher pioneer low-cost cancer treatment |

Glioblastoma can be devastating, but our goal is to change this with further research and your support

Our treatment for glioblastoma merits further research, and we hope to start a phase II clinical trial when funding is secured. We’re focused on making cancer treatment less intrusive, more accessible and more affordable.

We continue seeking ways to secure funding to extend our research. The recent donation from the Hugo Charitable Trust of $1 million provides a significant foundation for our phase II glioblastoma clinical trial. We hope others will be encouraged to stand beside them in support.

The impact of your support

Most of our funding comes from philanthropy. The support we receive from you and our donors has a huge impact on all that happens at the GMRI. Donations to support the day-to-day running of the GMRI allow us to:

  • conduct further research both in the laboratory and on clinical trials
  • support the academic study of our post-doctoral researchers, and PhD and summer students
  • write papers for international publications and presenting at conferences
  • manage a tissue bank of patient samples for our research and the research of others.

Want to join our ambassadors or support research into cancer?

We’d love to hear from you whether you’d like to talk about becoming an ambassador, make a donation, or to help us in some other way. You can email Margie Beattie at:

You can also make a donation on our website