Before Paihia's Robyn and Shane Schrafft blew out the candles on their 60th birthday cakes, the couple had already racked up more than 60 years of volunteering at home and abroad.
But when 61-year-old Robyn received the shock news in 2020 that her cancer had become terminal, the couple – who never say never to a miracle – had to make room in their altruistic schedule for a shared bucket list as they raced the next two years.
"Most people, for years and years, say one day we'll do this and we'll do that but we've had a wake-up call that there isn't always a 'one day'. We need to get out there and just do it," Robyn said. "That's my message to everyone – one day can be too late, so just do it."
Although Robyn, originally a vetinary nurse in Auckland, admitted that some of her and 60-year-old Shane's bucket list items may be out of reach.
"Volunteering at a baby elephant rescue camp might be a bit tricky," she said.
When they spoke to the Advocate the pair, celebrating more than three decades of marriage, were excitedly on their way to the Chatham Islands for a week to connect with the outdoors and enjoy the wildlife.
Their bucket list feat has been made easier thanks to the kindness of good friend Shannon Saunders, who surprised the volunteer Paihia St John Ambulance officers with a Givealittle page to help "two of the most selfless people" she knows fulfill their ambitions.
The couple were "completely and utterly blown away" by the generosity of others who had donated more than $8,000 in three days.
But it is the couple's lifetime of generosity that has blown away communities in the Bay of Islands and Rarotonga, Saunders said.
Together they volunteered as St John ambulance officers in Paihia - and when they weren't volunteering for St John they were working for them in Kerikeri, with Robyn an intensive care paramedic and Shane a paramedic.
At one point in 2010 Robyn became the only advanced paramedic in the Mid-North, and one of only a handful anywhere in New Zealand to have gained the qualification without a full-time job as an ambulance officer.
Their St John volunteer years were spent helping to fundraise and install 36 defibrillators (AED) in Bay of Islands communities – including at marae and schools; teach lifesaving first aid, AED and CPR; train First Responders; establish a St John First Responders Ambulance housed in the Paihia Fire Station; and raise funds to build an ambulance station in Paihia around 12 years ago.
They played a big role in converting a school dental clinic in Kawakawa into the area's St John ambulance station, while still finding time to provide first aid training to children in the Bay of Islands, which was later adopted by St John as a national programme.
So it was no surprise when they were both admitted to the Order of St John for community awareness and training.
Robyn's time as a St John volunteer kicked off in Kawakawa in 1992 when vet nursing started to become dull for her.
"I was bored and wanted something to do," she said. "Once I got into it and saw what a big difference you could make to someone's life that became my reason for staying."
For Shane, if he was out of the ambulance then he was most likely in the fire truck as he spent 33 years as a volunteer firefighter with the Paihia brigade, 12 years of which were spent as the chief fire warden.
His other former job was as a regional training co-ordinator for the Fire and Rescue Services Industry Training Organisation.
And then there was the couple's annual "holiday" to Rarotonga where, for more than a decade, the Schraffts would assist as senior paramedics at the Cook Islands' largest sporting event – the outrigger canoeing festival, Vaka Eiva.
And slowly they spread their generosity further through Rarotonga by running first aid courses for the local fire brigade, teaching CPR and first aid knowledge to community organisations, and putting AEDs around the island.
Shane's job at the time saw him set up an app in Rarotonga that allowed people to find their nearest AED.
But "we're not unique", Robyn insisted.
The humble pair said there were thousands of other Kiwis dotted around the country who loved their communities just as much and were doing the same.
"And thousands of others going through the cancer journey too," Robyn added.
When you are not being struck by the couple's incredible community efforts, it is Robyn's sense of humour that takes centre stage.
"I couldn't survive without a sense of humour," she said. "And my secret bad habit of enjoying really nice whiskey."
But she is 50 per cent Scottish, Robyn joked.
Her love of laughter has seeped into every part of her life, her black Subaru car included.
"I named it after Richie McCaw because it's big and strong and takes no s*** from anyone, just like him."
Robyn described her journey with cancer as brutal at times.
"I have my moments where I think this is crap and 'why did this have to happen to me?"
But from day one she has kept herself positive by wearing her ei katu - flowers on her head - every Monday and Friday to start and end the week on a high note.
"It would always bring a smile to someone's face. When you're having a crap day yourself, making someone else smile brightens your day," Robyn said.
Even as she faced her own challenges she continued the Schrafft way by looking out for others.
"Everyone needs to make sure they're going for their cancer check-ups and any other check-up. Just go and do it, it might save your life."
But Robyn's loved ones made her feel extremely lucky – "especially Shane, he's my rock".
Friends and family have dubbed themselves 'Team Turtle' as a nod to Robyn's love of turtles, which partly comes from their symbolism in Pacific Island culture. Although Robyn said, through a chuckle, for a while she thought she was holding tight to the wrong animal's symbolism.
"There are 10 or 12 different animals that have important meanings in the Cook Islands. I thought the turtle meant strong and resilient."
Everyone began inundating her with turtle gifts and gestures: "People were even sending me Facebook posts to do with turtles," Robyn said.
'Turtle corner' was set up in the lounge of her home where a dozen turtle items were kept.
"But it was the lizard. Nobody said you've got it wrong."
Luckily, after a bit of research it turned out the turtle still meant all of the traits she kept close to heart as she moved through her cancer journey.