Sur­vivor helps oth­ers get on track

Central Leader - - News - By Scott Mor­gan

Breast can­cer sur­vivor Hi­lary Perry is help­ing those re­cently di­ag­nosed with the dis­ease to re­gain some nor­mal­ity in their lives.

The Eden Ter­race res­i­dent is a co-or­di­na­tor with the YWCA-run En­core pro­gramme, which pro­motes gen­tle ex­er­cise for women be­ing treated for breast can­cer.

En­core fo­cuses on up­per body ex­er­cise in and out of the swim­ming pool, with many pa­tients’ move­ment com­pro­mised af­ter surgery.

It’s just one of many ini­tia­tives that be­come more vis­i­ble dur­ing Oc­to­ber, which is Breast Can­cer Action Month.

Hi­lary says it’s not just about get­ting pa­tients back on track phys­i­cally.

“The con­cept of get­ting th­ese women to­gether is a very good idea.

“Friend­ships are made. It gives you some­one to talk to about it.”

En­core didn’t ex­ist when Hi­lary was di­ag­nosed with breast can­cer in 2000.

But she says it wasn’t a dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion to get in­volved af­ter find­ing out about the pro­gramme last year.

“I thought it would be a good thing to be in­volved with as it’s some­thing I could do to help.

“There’s quite a lot of help im­me­di­ately at the time of di­ag­no­sis, but well down the track there’s not so much.”

While it’s been al­most 10 years since her di­ag­no­sis, Hi­lary says the mem­o­ries are still fresh in her mind.

“I had to wait a cou­ple of months for ra­dio­ther­apy,” says Hi­lary.

“The wait­ing it­self wasn’t easy and the process it­self was very dif­fi­cult.”

De­spite the shock of be­ing told she had the dis­ease, Hi­lary says hav­ing reg­u­lar mam­mo­grams saved her life.

En­core na­tional man­ager Mar­lene Sorby says the pro­gramme has been run­ning for more than 30 years over­seas and four years in New Zealand.

Dur­ing

that

time about 800 women have had the ben­e­fit of un­der­tak­ing the eight-week course.

“ There’s no pres­sure to do any­thing other than what they’re do­ing,” she says.

“They’ve all been on the same jour­ney and un­der­stand where each other are com­ing from.”

For more in­for­ma­tion on the En­core pro­gramme, which starts in St John this Fri­day and runs to De­cem­ber 4, call 0800-363-673 or visit www.aky­wca.co.nz.

For more in­for­ma­tion on Breast Can­cer Action Month and the New Zealand Breast Can­cer Foun­da­tion, visit www. nzbcf.org.nz.

Photo: JA­SON OX­EN­HAM

Sur­vivor: For­mer breast can­cer pa­tient Hi­lary Perry now acts as a co­or­di­na­tor for the YWCA-run En­core pro­gramme, which pro­motes gen­tle ex­er­cise among cur­rent breast can­cer pa­tients.

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