Conn Bertish ~ Inspirational Brain Cancer Survivor

Conn Bertish

Conn Bertish

Good Morning Little Fighter Friends,

Today our post is not about childhood cancer per se, but is still a very inspirational story of overcoming brain cancer and about a new app that could have the ability to change millions of lives.

Conn Bertish is a local, and an internationally awarded creative director and storyteller who has won many awards and has been dubbed an Agent Provocateur by the local media.

In 2006 Conn was diagnosed with an extraordinarily rare form of cancer for which data  for the behaviour and reaction to standard treatments was dismally lacking.

Conn's brain scan showing the tumour behind his left ear (hazy white area)

Conn’s brain scan showing the tumour behind his left ear (hazy white area)

During Conn’s treatment, the fact that he felt like a bystander and had no control over what was happening to him was very depressing. Being a creative soul, he turned to the first thing he always relied on – his pen and paper.  In this manner, he managed to bring his experience into his own world and started to interact with his cancer and fight back like only he knew how.

Through Creative Thinking Conn managed to link his mind and body in a manner that augmented his treatments, his resilience and his immune system, ultimately increasing his chances of survival exponentially.

Read more about how Conn started to fight back and get more involved in his own interaction with cancer and his healing here.

Hi my name is Conn Bertish and I am the founder and creative lead on all things Cancer Dojo. I am an experienced executive creative director (15 yrs) in the advertising world and have spent the last four years creating this Cancer Dojo approach while battling brain cancer, which I beat in late 2013.

I am a creative thinker, conceptual artist and writer. I’ve won many international accolades for my work in advertising, design, environmental activism and art. I now want to dedicate myself and my skills, to bring Cancer Dojo and it’s creative approach to cancer to life. It helped save my life, and will do the same for others.

Our aim is to empower people facing cancer by giving them a role in their own cancer. Traditionally cancer patients are not given a role in their own healing, which can lead to depression and an even more compromised immune system. These feelings of helplessness are hugely debilitating and lead to a higher cancer death rate.

Research shows that being empowered in a debilitating situation has fundamental and beneficial effects on your immune system; enabling one to be more resilient and bounce back from treatments and setbacks better than others facing the same conditions.

We, together with professors, medical doctors and cancer oncologists, believe this fact is underutilized in the context of cancer survival.

So we’re building a tool to change this: The Cancer Dojo mobile app is an application that enables people living with cancer to boost their immune systems, increase the efficacy of their treatments and bounce back more resiliently. It is a complimentary way to augment the traditional treatments of surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and many others. It is the one overarching layer that can positively enhance a potentially long and hard cancer experience.

cancer dojo logo

Download the story of Conn and his Cancer Dojo in Pdf form HERE

Due to his “miraculous” healing, neurologists, oncologists, doctors, and professors of science have asked Conn to share his way of thinking, to use his experience as a gateway for others to enter the world of creative visualisation.

This resulted in the idea of The Cancer Dojo,  which is a proposed app that is way ahead of its time and will employ the physiologically impactful power of visual thought; a space where those diagnosed with cancer can learn, grow, and teach skills as active participants in the fight against their cancer.

Cancer Dojo is a space that brings the power of visual thought to life. We provide a platform where people can grow, learn and share skills and tools as active participants in their bout with cancer.We aim to increase the survival rate one playful mind at a time.


Dr Tom Sutcliffe , The Red Cross Children’s Hospital Trustee, Chairman – Mental Health Review Board, Provincial Government Western Cape Former Head, Western Cape Government: Health says

“At last a brilliant App that helps a lay person to understand and to thoroughly engage with his or her cancer on a creative, self-healing path.”

cancer dojo logo

Dr Garth Davids , Oncologist, GVI Oncology Rondebosch said

“A vital step in any cancer journey is to be empowered to face it’s many challenges. Conn’s journey inspires and empowers.”

 cancer dojo logo

There is currently a Thundafund campaign on the go to raise the funds needed to create the Cancer Dojo app and get the community off the ground.


All of us here at Little Fighters Cancer Trust are very excited by the idea of the Cancer Dojo, as we believe that any tool that can help Children with Cancer in this fight of their lives can only be a good thing, and with children being creative by nature we cannot wait to see this become a reality.


About LFCT

This is a blog about CHILDHOOD CANCER and CHILDHOOD CANCER AWARENESS Little Fighters Cancer Trust is a non-profit organisation that offers support and aid to Children with Cancer and their families. When a child is diagnosed with cancer it affects the whole family. One of the parents, usually the mother, must give up their job to care for the child and this creates financial problems for the family. In South Africa especially the majority of these families are not well-to-do; many of them are rural. A diagnosis of cancer can wipe out any family’s finances, let alone a poor family. The costs of special medications, special diets, hospital stays, transport to and from the hospital or clinic and accommodation and food costs for the mother who spends most of the time at her child’s bedside are astronomical. These are the people and problems that fall through the cracks, and these are the people that Little Fighters Cancer Trust has pledged to help in any way possible. LFCT takes a holistic approach to assisting the Children with Cancer and their Families, with the main aim to be the preservation of individual dignity and pride. Little Fighters Cancer Trust also focuses on promotion and advocacy of National Childhood Cancer Awareness in an effort to increase awareness of Early Warning Signs of Childhood Cancer. This would result in earlier diagnosis, giving the Child with Cancer more of a chance at Treatment and Survival. See "About" for more Background info

Posted on 19 May, 2015, in Blog, Brain Cancer, Videos and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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