uthor, researcher and social commentator, Celia Lashlie has been diagnosed with terminal cancer, her family revealed today.
Celia was hospitalised after Christmas and a scan revealed pancreatic cancer. Her condition has deteriorated significantly in the last six weeks.
“Late last year I slowly became unwell. The stress of the lifestyle I was living, the demands I made of myself, the demands other people made of me and expected to meet became too great and as 2014 closed I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer that had spread to my liver. No treatment, no cure, only palliative care. I’d waited too long to look after myself and my body broke,” Celia said in a statement for her website (full text attached).
Celia’s talks on raising teenage boys as well as on social justice issues have demanded an extensive speaking circuit in New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and the United States.
Up until her illness, she was also working on a number of projects, all of which are linked to improving the lives of at-risk children and empowering families to find their own solutions to the challenges they face.
Celia and her family hope that much of this work will continue through public support to honour her extensive contribution to social justice and her dream to improve the lives of at-risk families in order to reduce crime and poverty in this country.
In September 2004, she completed the ‘Good Man’ project that focused on her research from discussions with pupils in 25 boys’ schools throughout the country. The project’s aim was to create a working definition of what makes a good man in the 21st century. It formed the basis of her bestseller, “He’ll Be Ok, Growing Gorgeous Boys into Good Men”.
At the time of her diagnosis, Celia was about to begin writing for an updated edition of this book to celebrate its 10th anniversary.
She has also written two other books; The Journey to Prison: Who goes and why and The Power of Mothers: Releasing Our Children.
Celia’s career in social justice began in the probation service. She then worked for 15 years within the prison service, starting in December 1985 as the first woman to work as an officer in a male prison in New Zealand. Her final role within Corrections was as Manager of Christchurch Women’s Prison, a position she left in September 1999.
She is the mother of two adult children and ‘Nana’ to five grandchildren.
Her family has asked for privacy as Celia has chosen to stay in her Wellington home surrounded by her loving family and close friends.
“I’m now focused on the moments of magic that are appearing in front of me - the laughter of my grandchildren, a smile of a friend attempting to walk this journey with me and the pure beauty and strength of my adult children as they battle their anger, grief and sadness at what is happening to their beloved mother,” Celia said in her statement.