Rotorua's Vanessa Griffen, who had a pink ribbon tattooed on her middle finger during her fight with breast cancer, has been given the all-clear.

Last November the Rotorua Daily Post told the mother-of-four's story, where she said the defiant tattoo "pretty much sums up what I feel" about the cancer.

Earlier this month she got the good news.

"I just thought, am I in remission now? And they said, 'no, you're cured, it's gone!' And I was like, 'really? Oh my gosh!' Yeah, it's good," she smiled.


Her breast was removed last March, shortly after diagnosis, which she said was hard to deal with.

"When they said to me 'we have to take your whole breast' I said that was alright, if it has to go, it has to go. But when it was gone I was like... that was part of me they just took away. It was quite hard."

She got the ribbon tattoo - a statement to cancer - after the surgery.

"It was to symbolise what I had been through and how I was feeling about the whole thing at the time. My aunty and my sister have also got it done too."

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After surgery, two cycles of chemotherapy and five weeks of radiation, along with the surgery she has now beaten the disease.

"I've had heaps of support, I've had family just come out of everywhere, people I don't even know just coming up to me and offering support, that's been really cool."

She stayed at the Cancer Society lodge in Hamilton while she was having her radiation therapy with her grandfather, Clifford Llewell, who is getting a new face after having a large part of his cut away because of cancer.


She said he had been a rock during her treatment.

"My granddad is so humble, nothing gets him down, I've been going through this with him. It's made our bond really strong. I love my granddad."

She said her main focus now was rebuilding her health.

"It's not as easy as I thought it would have been, I thought as soon as I had finished treatment I was ready to go, but no.

"I still have my bad days where I'm not feeling well, but it will take time to get back to normal.

"It's hard, but there's always light at the end of the tunnel, not everyone has a success at the end but a lot of people do.

"I'm constantly on my family's back now, telling them to go and get checked, just for peace of mind."

She said doctors had offered her reconstructive surgery, but she was not fussed, even joking with her kids about her "cool scar".

"I'm quite happy the way I am."