1800 244 735

Helpline (02) 9874 9777

HD Spotlight on John Conaghan

SOCIAL WORKER Hunter HD Service, John Hunter Hospital, Newcastle NSW

Q. Why did you decide to become a social worker?
A.  I think I had been pondering for a while about what to do with my life. I liked the humanities at uni and it probably grew from there. I also think that various life experiences propelled me to have a genuine interest in the relational and emotional self. Social work seemed to be the best fit for me.

Q. How did Huntington’s disease become your specialty?
A. I first was introduced to HD when I was studying social work in Melbourne in the early 1980s. I ended up working as a care assistant at a place called Mary’s Mount which was a care facility for people with HD. It was this experience which made me interested in HD and hence applying for the job I currently have back in 1991. I remember being challenged by how I could be helpful to people with an incurable disease and this stuck with me for some time before I went into the work.

Q. What’s the best part about working with HD families?
A. Without a doubt the longer term nature of the relationship with families, bearing witness to people’s courage, resilience, compassion, sadness and love for each other.

Q. What keeps you enthusiastic about your job?
A. The idea of working in the service of others, the development and maintenance of the relationship with people who have HD and their families and the hope of a better treatment.

Q. What is your ideal Sunday?
A. Knocking over a few jobs around the house, a pot of ginger infused chai tea with my partner Suzie over lunch and playing some cricket with my son Tomas at the nets in the afternoon.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email

Latest News and Stories

Update on research from Dr Therese Alting

Published date: 1 December, 2021

2021 has been a tough year, and for the HD community, it wasn’t just COVID-19. So many people around the world had their hopes pinned on the ground-breaking Huntingtin-lowering drug trials that were underway. Dr Therese Alting, Clinical Neuropsychologist at Concord and Westmead Hospitals, gives an easy to read update.
Hoping Machine documentary by Charles Sabine

CHDI Foundation Postcards

Published date: 15 November, 2021

The Postcards are a series of short videos aimed at non-scientists that convey the major themes, scientific breakthroughs, and clinical trial updates from each year’s Huntington’s Disease.

Introducing Prof. Kenneth Serbin – guest speaker at AGM

Published date: 11 November, 2021

Kenneth P. Serbin’s mother Carol died of Huntington’s disease in 2006 after a 20-year battle against the disease. Serbin tested positive for the HD gene in 1999. His daughter Bianca tested negative for HD in the womb and is today a healthy 21-year-old college senior. Since 1998, Serbin has served as a volunteer advocate for ... Read more

HD Spotlight on Amy Hale

Published date: 2 November, 2021

Here from our Youth Social Worker, Amy Hale, on why she became a social worker, how she got involved in the HD world and what her ideal Sunday is.

HD News Spring 2021

Published date: 1 November, 2021

Download your copy of the HD News Spring 2021 here. We hope that you enjoy reading the latest news from Huntington's NSW ACT. If you have any feedback or questions please contact us at the office.
Carer opening a care hamper

Celebrating National Carers week

Published date: 28 October, 2021

Thank you @CarersNSW Our Carer Support groups received a donation from CarersNSW to help celebrate National Carers week (Sunday 10th Oct-Sat 16th Oct). Each region was planning to host an event for their Carer group but unfortunately COVID hijacked these plans. Instead carers of the Port Macquarie and Wollongong Support groups received a phone call, ... Read more