Trade unionist Helen Kelly, who is fighting a tough battle with cancer, has broken her back.

The former president of the Council of Trade Unions told "I've broken my back because I've got a tumour on my spine."

Kelly was diagnosed with lung cancer in February last year.

Last week she had to have emergency radiation on her spine after tumours started to enter her spinal cord, she told the publication.


After initially being told she only had a number of weeks to live, she has continued to fight the disease with the help of cannabis products she takes to ease the pain.

She is now pushing for medicinal cannabis products to be made lawfully available in New Zealand.

Kelly said: "My experience of the drug is that I'm sitting here having a [cannabis] cookie right now because I've woken up feeling quite crook and this is what will keep me going and get me mobile."

She also uses a special balm - cannabis being a key ingredient in it - to rub on her spine.

Referring to the pain in her back, she said: "This will actually enable me to move around today and do my work."