Board of Trustees
OcuMel UK is overseen by our board of trustees, which consists of 4-6 members, the majority of whom are ocular melanoma patients and family members.
The role of the board of trustees is to make sure that OcuMel UK meets its charitable aims as efficiently as possible, and in a way that ensures the future longevity of the charity.
The board is always looking for patients to join them. As a patient organisation we are committed to ensuring the voice of the patient is heard. Having patients on the board of trustees is the best way to make sure that happens.
If you would like to find out more about joining the board, please contact Jo Gumbs.
Mr Neil Pearce
Mr Neil Pearce has been a consultant hepatobiliary surgeon at University Hospital Southampton since 2003 following his fellowship in liver transplant surgery at St James’ University Hospital in Leeds. He has been elected to the national council for the Association of Upper GI Surgeons (AUGIS) and has been the clinical lead for the introduction of new laparoscopic techniques in liver and pancreatic surgery and the AUGIS clinical commissioning lead. In 2013 he was appointed as Associate Medical Director at University Hospital Southampton.
Mr Pearce became involved in OcuMel UK because he believes that recent advances in oncology, surgery and interventional radiology mean that combining treatments gives patients a real chance of prolonged survival even if they present with advanced disease. These advances mean patients need to be carefully screened for recurrent disease and treatments planned and delivered in a coordinated fashion. Neil’s aim is to see patients across the UK offered long term surveillance and all of the available treatments to give patients the best possible care.
Joanna became involved with OcuMel UK after her husband was diagnosed with ocular melanoma in 2013. The charity have provided invaluable support to Joanna’s family. Conscious that volunteers are vital to the continued running of the charity, Joanna initially assisted us in supporting our fundraisers and administering the family support Facebook group. She became a trustee in 2015, as she was keen to provide a voice for family members on the board. Joanna is a senior tax manager at Grant Thornton UK LLP and is a qualified chartered accountant and chartered tax advisor and uses her finance background to advise the Board in her role as Treasurer.
Jo co-founded OcuMel UK when her father, Calogero Caruso, died from ocular melanoma metastatic to the liver. She had been shocked by how little information was available to the family and how hard it was to access treatment for liver disease. Jo was able to get her dad various treatments through information she found online, but she realised there was a real need for a UK voice for ocular melanoma patients and family members, and so OcuMel UK was born. Jo currently works for OcuMel UK as our Operations Manager.
Ben studied optometry at the University of Manchester and graduated in 2009. He completed his pre-registration at Specsavers in the summer of 2010 and tested at Specsavers Durham City branch as a resident from 2010 to 2014. He then moved south with his partner and worked as a mobile optometrist for Vision Express. This involved working for the company in Oxford, High Wycombe, Slough, Edgware and Reading. Since January 2015 he has been a full time resident at Reading Vision Express.
Since qualifying, Ben has been involved with the charity “Vision care for homeless people” where he performed sight tests for the homeless in London during his spare time. He is keen to help OcuMel UK as he feels passionately about disease detection. Ben would like to see all optometrists detecting and referring patients with suspicious symptoms promptly.