Help fight breast can­cer

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS -

The power of fam­ily and a pos­i­tive out­look helped a breast can­cer sur­vivor beat the dis­ease and she wants oth­ers to learn from her ex­pe­ri­ence.

Whetu Pickering is speak­ing out as part of the Breast Can­cer Aotearoa Coali­tion’s Show Your Heart fundrais­ing cam­paign, which kicked off this week.

The cam­paign is sup­ported by Arnott’s Tim Tam, Woman’s Day and Count­down supermarkets.

Un­til May 19 Arnott’s Tim Tam will do­nate 20 cents to the coali­tion for ev­ery packet of Tim Tam sold at Count­down supermarkets.

Woman’s Day will do the same for ev­ery mag­a­zine sold.

The coali­tion needs the funds so it can con­tinue to pro­vide its Step by Step sup­port and in­for­ma­tion pack free-ofcharge to the 2800 New Zealan­ders di­ag­nosed with breast can­cer ev­ery year.

Ms Pickering used the sup­port pack af­ter she was di­ag­nosed in 2011 and says she’d like other women to ben­e­fit from it as well.

The mother-of-one was 40 when she found a lump un­der her arm and was di­ag­nosed with a par­tic­u­larly ag­gres­sive form of the dis­ease, known as triple neg­a­tive breast can­cer.

She had a par­tial mas­tec­tomy, chemo­ther­apy and ra­di­a­tion ther­apy and says that though the treat­ment was tough she tried to re­main strong for her fam­ily, es­pe­cially her son.

‘‘My son had two friends who lost their mums to breast can­cer so he was re­ally scared I was go­ing to die.

‘‘He was my fo­cus and I just sol­diered on for his sake,’’ she says.

‘‘I put my own worries aside to make sure he was OK.’’

Her friends and fam­ily, in­clud­ing her son, hus­band, mother and sis­ter, were such a strong sup­port for her that it was easy to look on the bright side, she says.

‘‘I just tried to stay pos­i­tive and act pos­i­tive. I didn’t want to dwell on the neg­a­tive so I just car­ried on as nor­mal and con­tin­ued to work and do other things.

‘‘In the end, it was like I’d had the com­mon flu rather than can­cer,’’ she says.

Ms Pickering says it is great to know there are or­gan­i­sa­tions like the Show Your Heart cam­paign sup­port­ing women go­ing through treat­ment and hopes Auck­lan­ders will back the cam­paign.

Photo: ADRIAN EVANS

Sur­vivor:

Whetu Pickering beat breast can­cer and will see her son grow up.

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