Simone Busija - Founder, Family Ties Foundation
Simone Busija had enjoyed a long and successful career in her corporate sales and advertising role when her life took a major turn not long after the birth of her 2nd child. Having experienced the devastating death of her father to stomach cancer in 1999, she discovered that she carried the same genetic mutation, giving her an 80% risk of developing the cancer herself. After bravely undergoing a prophylactic total gastrectomy to reduce her risk, it changed her outlook on life.
Simone made the decision to use her experience for the greater good and create the Family Ties Foundation, to assist other families who also carried high risk genes, predisposing them to cancer.
Taking a timely redundancy from her corporate employer, Simone set up The Family Ties Foundation to support families at risk of hereditary cancer in Australia. Her aim was to empower others to communicate more effectively with their relatives about their risk, to encourage preventative screening and reduce the mortality rate associated with genetic cancer.
6,400 cases of cancer will be diagnosed in Australia this year caused by a genetic predisposition. Those who are predisposed have a 50% higher chance of developing cancer at a younger age. The majority of cancers however, if detected early have a much higher rate of survival. Simone has created The Family Ties Foundation to educate people on communicating better which in turn arms people with the tools to find cancer risk at an early or pre stage.
The Family Ties Foundation aims to be a resource recommended to every Australian diagnosed with a hereditary cancer syndrome, to be well informed from the start of their journey. The foundation provides tools and tips to communicate with all ages and relationship types within a family and to connect with others in the hereditary cancer community.
Simone has built and will continue to build, strong relationships with numerous organisations associated with the genetic cancer sector. Outside of her role as Director of Family Ties, Simone is employed by Peter MacCallum Cancer Foundation in the role of Community and Corporate Fundraising Coordinator, assisting with raising funds for research at Peter Mac.