Supporting people impacted by Complex Chronic Illness.

Meet Our Team

Miranda Whitwell, CEO
  • Diploma of Comprehensive Nursing
  • Certificate in Small Business Management
  • Accounting and Management 

With a background in Nursing, I moved into coordinating the continuing education for GPs and Practice Nurses for the Rotorua area, I also coordinated some research projects on behalf of the University of Auckland and University of California.  Having run my own business, in 2019 I decided to return to my health roots and join the Complex Chronic Illness Support group as the Operations Coordinator, now the CEO.  I love the job and the impact it makes for people in their lives. 

Charlotte Kelp, WBOP Health & Wellness Facilitator
  • Bachelor of Community Health

Hi, my name is Charlotte Kelp, I am a mum of four and have recently completed a Bachelor in Community Health majoring in public health. With my own diagnosis of ME/CFS, I have some insight into how challenging life can be with this illness. However, I believe that quality of life can be improved with understanding of the condition, support and holistic management. I am determined to raise awareness of ME/CFS and passionate in supporting and empowering others on their personal journey with this illness. I feel very privileged to be working alongside you and look forward to meeting you.

Tracey Larsen - Waikato Health & Wellness Facilitator
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology
  • BAppSocSci Counselling Major
  • Diploma in Health and Human Behaviour

Kia ora.  I consider it an extreme privilege to be welcomed into your life and walk beside you as you navigate a landscape of uncertainty and the impacts this brings. I am always astounded and humbled by the resilience of the human spirit and I am passionate about working with you to find your way towards empowerment and better quality of living. After supporting the Waikato ME/CFS & FM community since 2014,  I have joined the CCIS team in 2021 to continue this meaningful work throughout the Waikato region.  I live in Morrinsville with my husband, have two gorgeous adult sons and I am excited that I am soon to be a grandmother.  My keen interests are photography, being creative, self-improvement through spiritual enlightenment, and being in the presence of those I love and cherish.

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Tabitha Ramsay, Health & Wellness Facilitator
  • Post Graduated in Anthrosophical Artistic Therapy
  • Certificate in the Art of Wellbeing
  • Bachelor of Arts (Psychology)

Tabitha is the Lakes (Rotorua and Taupo) Field Officer.

Welcome, my name is Tabitha, I am a wife, mother, and grandparent, living in Rotorua.  I have a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) and a Post Grad Certificate in Anthroposophical Artistic Therapy.

I spent 12 years in the New Zealand Air Force living and working with an Autoimmune Disease, this has given me an in-depth insight into living and working with a chronic illness, and all the challenges that come with it. Since leaving the NZ Air Force (2012) I have been on a journey to discover my own wellness and how to manage living with a chronic illness. I am passionate about helping people from all walks of life, to manage and live their best life. I look forward to hearing your story and working with you on your wellness journey.

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Karen Maxwell - National Wellness Facilitator
  • Certificate in Pharmacy (Community Pharmacy Assistant)
  • Studying towards a degree in a Bachelor of Applied Science (Psychology)

Hi, my name is Karen Maxwell and it is a real privilege to be working alongside the dedicated team at CCIS as the new National Wellness Facilitator. I am a mum of two teenage boys and currently studying towards a degree in a Bachelor of Applied Science (Psychology). I have worked in Community Pharmacy for the last 6 years and gained a certificate in Pharmacy (Community Pharmacy Assistant) Level 4. Having experienced Chronic Fatigued Syndrome myself, I know how debilitating this illness can be and how it affects every aspect of one’s life. Understanding the condition through education and having the support and guidance supports the recovery process and gain back the quality of life. I look forward to working with you to provide support and guidance with managing your Illness and support you in your journey towards improved wellness.

Kelsi England, Health & Wellness Assistant

I initially became a member of CCIS at the end of 2017, after developing chronic illness symptoms the year prior. I participated in the “Towards Wellness Programme” throughout 2018 and continued with my health journey. By January 2020 I was well enough to offer my skills as a volunteer to CCIS, which led to the position of Field Officer Assistant.

While I understand the complexities of chronic illness, I have also experienced PTSD, severe anxiety, depression and agoraphobia all before I was 18. These moments in my life have given me the ability to really understand and empathise with people who are or have been in similar situations. After therapy and a continuous curiosity to self-reflect, I can happily report that I am very mentally well now and have been for a number of years.

I cannot express how grateful I am to have this opportunity to give back to CCIS and the community. I hope that through the duration of my time here I am able to make a lasting, positive impact.

Our Board

Keith Appleton - President & Treasurer

Keith joined the CCIS in November 2018 filing the vacant position of Treasurer which he still holds in conjunction the office of President.

Before moving to Tauranga, he operated a Chartered Accountancy practice in Auckland.

He has a wealth of knowledge and experience pertaining to the disability sector having been associated therewith for over 30 years.

During that period he has served on a number of boards, ME/CFS (Auckland) Support: Blind and Low Vision NZ;  SILC Charitable Trust and Counties Manukau Plunket

Matt Appleton is back from the brink. Photo: Bruce Barnard.
Matt Appleton - Vice President

It is truly an honour for me to be a part of an organisation that does so much to help provide its membership with up to date information, life adjustment skills, care and support.  The team we have working in those areas are second to none in my opinion and I’m very proud of what they accomplish every day.

I grew up in Auckland and moved to Tauranga five years ago with my extended family. Although I am a Hair Stylist and Makeup artist by trade, I really come from a business background having owned several successful businesses in different fields from the age of eighteen onwards. The stress and effort I put my body through in those early days building my businesses along with having a severe case of Glandular Fever at twenty one left my body and immune system somewhat debilitated, resulting in me developing unknown and undiagnosed illness symptoms from the age of approx twenty five. My symptoms became worse over the next seven years and I found little help, answers or empathy from the medical fraternity until finally being diagnosed by Dr. Ros Vallings (leading medical expert in NZ) with M.E/CFS (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis commonly referred to as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome). I have lived with this condition and other associated illnesses for another ten years since then, so I can relate to most of the membership and their struggles with illness and the issues it creates for us. Since joining the membership at CCIS I have completed the “Towards Wellness Programme” which I have found invaluable. I have also volunteered in various positions within the organisation which lead me to joining the Board a couple of years ago. I am very proud of the important work we do here and I look forward to continuing to positively contribute for as long as I am able.

Sarah Davey - Board Member

Sarah is a Tauranga local.  Her initial career practicing law in New Zealand and internationally provided a solid foundation for the next 20 plus years contributing towards the health and well-being of people who live in the Bay of Plenty.  She has lead the growth and development of health and disability services in the Bay of Plenty at senior management and governance levels. She has a particular interest in enabling people with disabilities and chronic health conditions to live well, to their full potential.

She is currently the Manager of Innovation and Change with the Bay of Plenty District Health Board. With her husband Trevor, she is also a Director of Latitude Surveying Limited, a Tauranga based land surveying firm. 

​Trevor and Sarah have three adult children.

David Harris - Board Member

I have worked in and around Tauranga my whole working life in Banking, Business Accounting and Management and at most levels of the Information Technology industry also designing and building Microsoft Access database systems since 1994.  I am currently part of a small team that have setup and operate three business units from our lifestyle block at Ohauiti: Crop Check, MeCount Business Systems Ltd, BlueSkyData Ltd.

I was raised on a local Ohauiti Dairy Farm, as a teenager I worked on a Sheep and Beef Farm weekends and School Holidays.  Married my wife Cathy in 1977 with three adult children, two grand children and another due early December 2020.  Cathy plays a very integral and important role in the three Small Business’ we operate and continues to be caregiver for my CFS.  We have lived in and around Tauranga returning to my Family home in rural Ohauiti in December 2006 and since June 2011 owned a Lifestyle block as a move towards realistic sustainability, providing the opportunity for me to work when I can rather than when I have to according to my energy reserves and CFS symptoms.  

I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in 2000 and in March 2015 with Immune Thrombocytopenia (ITP) or low Platelets, another Immune system condition with one of the main effects being extreme fatigue.

Complex Chronic Illness Support Inc (Formerly ME/CFS BOP) provided both Cathy and myself significant help and support during the years after my diagnosis in 2000, after a significant viral episode in 1991.  Before this past year I previously served on the Board of ME/CFS BOP as Treasurer Vice Chairman and Chairman and see that being part of the Governance Board of CCIS is a way I can use my accumulated Business Management experience and Technology skills to “pay it back” and help build a better support organisation and experience for those with Chronic Illness.

Karen Moulton - Board Member

My professional background is in optometry mainly in the Bay of Plenty region as well as having completed postgraduate study in public health and health promotion. On a professional and personal level, I have seen first hand how conditions that CCIS support can affect people on a daily basis. I am currently volunteering for CCIS in a field officer support role and see the great work the organisation does to support its members. I am looking forward to making a further difference in progressing and promoting the organisation by being a member of the board.

Fiona Charlton - Board Member

I have a background in corporate marketing, senior management and client relationship management as well as extensive non-profit fundraising experience both in NZ and UK. I have a B.Sc in Psychology, a B.A in Education, several diplomas in natural health and am currently doing Post Graduate studies in Health Science and Nutrition. My interest in alternative medicine and nutrition began as part of my own journey with chronic illness. I became ill in 2008 with Fibromyalgia, then ME/CFS and orthostatic intolerance, and I seem to be adding more auto-immune disorders to the list as the years go by! For the past seven years I’ve organised the monthly social support group in Te Awamutu, and I was involved with discussions to bring the Waikato services to CCIS, so joining the Board, just seemed to be a natural next step. I am grateful to be a part of an excellent organisation that truly understands these complex conditions, and makes living with chronic illness more manageable through support, advice, and care.

Get in touch

If you’d like to learn more about us, or get involved, we’d love to hear from you.

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