"Prioritise your health."
That's the message from Tauranga breast cancer survivor and Labour list MP Jan Tinetti.
She was diagnosed in 2019 and has been in remission for two-and-a-half years.
She'll be sharing her "tough" journey at a breast cancer fundraiser event Get the Girls Out at Macau Restaurant next week to raise awareness and funds for the local support service.
It has been organised by Heidi Tidmarsh and Suzanne McNicol.
Tinetti said her experiences taught her to make the most of her opportunities and never waste a moment.
The cancer was discovered through a mammogram with no prior indication of any abnormal growth.
She self-examined and there were no lumps.
The cancer was based in her milk duct and had spread 13cm through the breast. The only option was to remove the breast. She had a mastectomy and reconstruction.
While the journey was "tough", she did not regret it or feel sorry for herself that it happened to her.
"It taught me so much about myself. I can't change the past and can now use the experience to help shape my future."
Her message to everyone was: "prioritise your health and ensure you go for check-ups including regular mammograms".
The event she will be guest speaking at on Thursday, Get the Girls Out, will have music, food, and cocktails.
This will be Tidmarsh's second breast cancer event, the first being last year raising $10,000.
Tidmarsh's mother died of breast cancer 14 years ago and she remembered her mum as a community advocate for important causes, like the Cancer Society.
"I'd like to think she's smiling on me for my fundraising efforts."
Funds raised on the night would be donated to the local Breast Cancer Support Service Tauranga Trust.
There will be a range of New Zealand artworks on auction, including Weston Frizzell's AROHA print of Prime Minister Jacinda Adern signed by her.
The event will coincide with Tauranga's Breast Cancer Support Service's fundraiser: Aotearoa 100ks in 30 Days in the Month of May.
The kilometres can be tackled on foot, on water, or on wheels - bikes, wheelchairs, scooters. Or a combination of the three.
The mission was to raise $30,000 for breast cancer support in the region and it has raised $60,000 with over a week to go.
It costs Breast Cancer Support Service Tauranga Trust just under $300,000 a year to provide all its services.
The funds raised allow the trust to provide meals, massages, financial support and support people for those going through breast cancer.
Get the Girls Out:
Where: Macau Restaurant on the Strand
When: Thursday, May 26
Tickets: $99 and includes pink cocktails and canapes throughout the evening. Email email@example.com.