"I found my lump just before a Pink Ribbon Breakfast"
As a nurse, Barbara is well aware of the symptoms of breast cancer and how to look for them. But it was a friend's Pink Ribbon Breakfast in 2009 that prompted her to do a self-check just before the event.
Barbara's last mammogram had come back clear six months earlier, so the last thing the grandmother from Whangarei was expecting to find that May morning was a lump. She took herself off to the doctor and it turned out to be breast cancer.
She underwent a partial mastectomy, radiotherapy and chemotherapy, then tamoxifen for the next four and a half years.
Eleven years later, Barbara thought she'd beaten breast cancer. But in 2020, at the age of 59, Barbara learnt that the tumour had returned and she had further surgery to remove it.
To celebrate surviving breast cancer twice, and to raise awareness about the importance of early detection, Barbara hosted a Pink Ribbon Breakfast last year: "I'm really thankful for the funding I've had from BCFNZ for counselling and physiotherapy, as well as the phone calls from the nurses giving me reassurance and advice."
"I thought hosting a Pink Ribbon Breakfast was a good chance to give back for the wonderful support I've had. It was also a good way to remind the women in my life to be vigilant, because breast cancer can happen to anyone."