About Us / Our History

Our story began in 1975 when Dr Ian Gawler developed bone cancer, which led to his right leg being amputated. Later that year when the cancer returned, Ian relentlessly embarked on an intensive health regime with a focus on anti-cancer nutrition, a positive attitude, regular deep meditation and the acceptance of loving support to beat his prognosis. You can read more about Ian’s personal journey in the book A Dragon’s Blessing or learn the details of his approach to healing in You Can Conquer Cancer .

Based on his own healing success and experiences, Ian Gawler established Australia’s first active Cancer Support Group in 1981 to teach people how to increase their chances of survival from cancer and improve their quality of life. In 1983 The Gawler Cancer Foundation was founded as a non-profit organisation to continue this important work.

From 1995-1999 the Foundation convened the Mind, Immunity & Health Conferences; the first conferences in Australia to address the learning needs of multi-disciplinary health professionals engaged in integrative medicine. The conference now continues under the guidance of The Australasian Integrative Medical Association (AIMA).

The Gawler Cancer Foundation hosted the Profound Healing – Sustainable Wellbeing Conference yearly from then on. This conference attracts a unique combined audience of medical and natural health practitioners, the general public interested in health and wellbeing and people living with chronic illness. At this forum the latest research, complementary therapies, survivor stories and practical tools for the prevention and management of cancer and chronic illness are shared.

In 2002 the Foundation introduced a program to help people manage and halt the progress of multiple sclerosis led by Professor George Jelinek, author of Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis .

A range of wellbeing retreats were introduced in 2004 to help people prevent illness and improve their general health and wellbeing.

In 2010 Ian Gawler retired as Therapeutic Director from The Gawler Cancer Foundation to pursue personal interests and take his experiences on the road. Ian has since spoken to thousands of people at conferences and seminars around Australia and overseas on topics such as conquering cancer, eating for recovery, meditation and inner peace. Ian now continues to work privately and with the foundation in our follow-up cancer programs and meditation retreats.

In 2013 we celebrated 30 years of service to the community.

Today The Gawler Cancer Foundation is a vibrant modern organisation dedicated to providing people with real options for improved health and wellbeing. We do not claim to have a formula or cure for cancer. Though we do look to the experience of Ian Gawler, as well as the latest research, and the many people who have attended our programs over the years with life-changing results and we share this knowledge. In this way we’re helping people create healthier, more fulfilling lives whatever their circumstances.