A former St Kevin's College student who has been working on proactively alerting patients to early warning signs of cancer returning was one of three finalists in the 2013 UK New Zealander of the Year awards.
Matthew Hickey, who was a boarder at St Kevin's College for two years, was nominated for the award which recognises the outstanding contribution that an NZ or British national has made in promoting the interests of New Zealand or New Zealanders in the UK and presenting a positive image of our country.
In a ceremony on Friday, he missed out on the top prize, which went to Bronwen Horton, founder of the New Zealand Business Women's Network in the UK. However, Mr Hickey told the Oamaru Mail he was "immensely honoured" to have been nominated and representing New Zealand on the international business stage.
"It also goes to show that if you have passion, will and determination, anything is possible," he said.
Mr Hickey said he loved his time at St Kevin's College, right by the sea.
"The location of St Kevin's was stunning and, architecturally, it was a beautiful school, too," he said.
Mr Hickey has been promoting the interests of New Zealand or New Zealanders in the UK by funding research and developing services that enable the real-time assessment, monitoring and management of patients' needs when they are being treated for, or are Passion leads to shortlist
Being trusted to be part of their lives at these very personal times is an enormous privilege.Matthew Hickey, former St Kevin's studentliving with or beyond cancer.
"With my university partners I have developed a tool kit which assists clinicians to proactively manage the needs of patients by being alerted to early warning signs of the cancer returning, as opposed to reacting after the event," he said.
"The tool kit is designed to promote the better outcomes for patients; is globally applicable; but above all, always free to patients. I have achieved this through fostering collaboration between New Zealand and international research, trade and enterprise organisations, both locally and abroad."
Mr Hickey said he was in a privileged position of being involved in helping improve people's lives at a time when it is usually most wanted, during a health crisis.
"However, in my opinion, the real heroes in healthcare are the patients who show enormous courage when living with or beyond cancer and the effects of its treatments," he said.
"Being trusted to be part of their lives at these very personal times is an enormous privilege.
"Being involved in healthcare change, at an international level, has been one of the most challenging and rewarding positions I have been lucky enough to be in."