Recently diagnosed with breast cancer, she was about to begin treatment.
“At that first meeting I met someone who had been through the exact same chemo regime that I was about to have,” Jane says. “I was terrified about the process and she told me what to expect and offered tips to help me cope. So I started chemo feeling more confident and reassured in myself.”
It is this personal perspective from breast cancer survivors that Jane says makes the Breast Cancer Support organisation (which she now works for as National Coordinator) especially valuable for women.
“We are a peer support group – all the facilitators have had breast cancer themselves. Our meetings are a chance to share experiences in a supportive environment. We don’t give medical advice – it’s more about ways of coping. Guest speakers provide information on topics such as nutrition.”
“One of the biggest things we deal with is fear and anxiety, especially worry about whether the cancer will come back,” Jane says. “That underlying anxiety can sit with women for a very long time. It takes a lot longer than people think, following treatment, to get back in balance and find your way forward physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.”
Breast Cancer Support operates Auckland-wide; the Hibiscus Coast group started in 1999 and is one of the longest running.
Until recently the 40-strong group held its regular meetings at local cafés or in each other’s homes but they now have a new venue in Orewa which Jane hopes will encourage more women to join.
Last year local real estate agent Rosalind Warren of Bayleys Orewa did some fundraising for the organisation. She became aware of the group’s need for a meeting space and offered the use of the company’s auction room at 14 Florence Avenue, Orewa.
The first meeting will be held in the new venue on Tuesday, May 16 at 7pm. Meetings are open to any women who have had a diagnosis of breast cancer, at any time in their lives.
Info: visit breastcancersupport.co.nz or phone 0800 273 222.