Novel cancer fundraiser for the ladies

By Kiri Gillespie

Ladies who love to do lunch have been given the perfect excuse for a girls' day out, while helping victims of breast cancer.

The Tauranga Breast Cancer Support Service has launched a high-tea fundraiser event to be held next week at Bella Vista Lodge.

It is the first high tea event for the service, which traditionally puts on fundraising walks and fashion shows each year.

Service co-ordinator Lea Lehndorf said the high tea was a fun occasion for women to "play ladies for the day" while helping raise crucial funds to keep the service going. Other events will also be held over the next two months.

The independent, non-profit organisation receives no money from the Government, Cancer Society or New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation. Instead, it applies for grants to pay for overheads while fundraising to support local women with breast cancer.

"Part of our job is to help support them through and get them back to their normal lives," Ms Lehndorf said.

The service stretches from Waihi to Whakatane and deals with about 200 new clients each year.

Clients appeared to be getting younger, Ms Lehndorf said.

"We have had a 24-year-old diagnosed this year. We see a lot of 30 and early 40-year-olds, certainly not your traditional 60-plus."

The service offers various support groups, information and help around the house and pamper vouchers in the first year of diagnosis. But it was support visitors who were the "heart" of the operation, Ms Lehndorf said.

The band of volunteers also included breast cancer survivors, such as chairwoman Fiona McAllister, who said the role was deeply rewarding.

"It's about talking to someone who's been through it. They have all these questions and we can help because we've been through it ourselves," Ms McAllister said.

Often women did not want to burden their family or were stressed about what would happen to their children and career, she said.

"It's very hard. You go through depression, anger, disbelief 'perhaps they got the diagnosis wrong' because most women diagnosed aren't sickly. It's about helping take some of that fear away."

Events like the high tea on September 16 and an Annah Stretton Fashion Night on September 12 were important to keep the service operating for Tauranga breast cancer patients, she said.

High Tea tickets were limited to 70 people and anyone keen can access more information at or email Ms Lehndorf at

Bella Vista high tea

  • September 16, 2pm

  • Bella Vista lodge, 1000 Ohauiti Rd

  • $30 a ticket - only 70 tickets

- Bay of Plenty Times

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