Leonie Coates

Leonie Coates died from ovarian cancer at Nurse Maude Hospice, Christchurch on May 22, 2006. We pass on our kindest wishes and respect to the Coates family on the 10 year anniversary of her passing.

Leonie’s daughters, Rachel Brown and Jackie Whiting launched the Foundation on May 22, 2007. Leonie desperately wanted to help other women and their families through education and awareness, and to support others with the disease. Leonie’s husband Allan gifted $10,000 from her estate and this funding along with the sheer hard work and unwavering commitment of her daughters to honour her wishes, meant New Zealand women finally had their first dedicated gynaecological charity.

The Leonie Coates Gynaecological Cancer Charitable Trust known as the New Zealand Gynaecological Cancer Foundation (NZGCF) is now entering its 10th year. Leonie’s original wishes are still at the heart of the Foundation's work.

Rachel Brown, BA

Rachel Brown (nee Coates) lives in Christchurch with her partner. Rachel has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Canterbury University and in 2007 co-founded the Foundation with her sister, Jackie in memory of and following the wishes of their mother, Leonie Coates.

In addition to her current role, Rachel has worked in recruitment for several years in New Zealand and overseas. Rachel also worked for six years as an Account Manager for several multinational companies across both private and public medical facilities, in both Pharmaceuticals and Medical Technology. In these roles Rachel gained valuable experience in the fields of Oncology, Cardiac Surgery, Cardiology, Respiratory, Blood Collection and Intravenous Technology.  Rachel then became Director of her own company, working as a Personal Insurance Consultant, with a focus primarily on women's personal health related insurances.

Rachel has also worked as a volunteer telephone counsellor and face to face as a youth counsellor.

Jackie Whiting

Jackie Whiting is sister to Rachel Brown and co-founder of the Foundation.

Jackie is a director of a family-owned construction company and lives in Christchurch with her husband and two daughters. She is actively involved in the community including participating in school fundraising and committee events. Jackie has a strong social and business network in the Canterbury region.

In May 2006, Rachel and Jackie lost their mother, Leonie Coates, to ovarian cancer. It was in Leonie’s memory that the Leonie Coates Gynaecological Cancer Charitable Trust (now the New Zealand Gynaecological Cancer Foundation), was established in May 2007.