Black Sticks player Gemma Flynn has become a NZ Breast Cancer Foundation ambassador after her grandmother was diagnosed with the disease twice in three years.
"Nana is the rock of our family, so her getting sick was a really big deal for us all," she said.
"I'm very, very close to my nana - all her grandchildren are. We spend a lot of time as a family together."
Flynn's grandmother was successfully treated and is now in good health, but Flynn is aware that many women aren't so lucky.
"I came on board with the NZ Breast Cancer Foundation because of the work they're doing to educate women about the need to be proactive about breast health, and the support and information they offer women who've been diagnosed.
"Women's health at all ages is a very important cause for me, and breast cancer is the most common cancer for Kiwi women. I want to do my bit to help, and through the NZBCF we can reach out to women on a large scale."
Foundation chief executive Evangelia Henderson said she was thrilled to have Flynn on board as an ambassador.
"Gemma is so inspiring to young women, and is known for her hard work and commitment in her sport. I believe that when she tells women to look out for their breast health, they'll listen."
One of Gemma Flynn's first acts as an ambassador for the Foundation will be to walk the 21km Pink Star Walk in Christchurch on October 29, along with fellow ambassador and ex-Silver Fern Maree Bowden. People wanting to register for the fundraising Pink Star Walks in Christchurch and Wellington can do so at www.pinkstarwalk.co.nz.
Flynn this month auctioned off a pair of diamond earrings crafted for her to wear on the red carpet for fiance Richie McCaw's film, and donated the money to the Foundation.
The earrings sold for $2510 after an intense bidding war.
Did you know:
• The earlier a breast cancer is found, the greater the chance it can be successfully treated.
• When a cancer is found on a mammogram, a woman has a 92 per cent chance of being alive 10 years later. When a cancer is found as a lump or other symptom, the 10-year survival drops to 75 per cent.
• Mammograms are recommended for women over 40 and are free from age 45 to 69.
• The NZBCF says women of all ages should know the normal look and feel of their breasts, and report any changes to their doctor.