A Rotorua woman says breast cancer does not have to be a lone journey, something the Rotorua community is being encouraged to come together for.
This year's Rotorua Breast Cancer Trust 2019 Pink Walk is on Wednesday October 23 from 5pm at Rotorua's Village Green.
The Rotorua Breast Cancer Trust is encouraging as many locals as possible to take part.
The Pink Walk is an annual event that aims to bring together friends and whānau to enjoy a fun evening of love and laughter, celebrating life and sharing a moment of remembrance for all loved ones who have experienced or lost their lives to breast cancer.
Participants are encouraged to enter and register online for the 3.4km fun family walk.
Entrants are also encouraged to plan, make and wear the most colourful pink outfits they can find.
Tania Curtis was diagnosed with breast cancer at 45. It was by absolute chance that she found out she had it.
Tania had received a cervical smear reminder letter in the post and went to her doctor, but found she was up to date.
While there, because she had recently turned 45, Tania was told she was now eligible for a free mammogram.
In March 2018 after her first mammogram, Tania found out she had breast cancer. She had surgery in April followed by seven months of chemotherapy, both in Rotorua.
A further three weeks of radiation treatment was necessary in Hamilton. On December 21 2018, Tania finished her treatment.
This whirlwind of a year affected Tania's life severely.
With dependant children, a full-time job and living rurally, fitting cancer and treatments into her daily life was not easy.
Tania is grateful she had a lot of support from her whānau and friends, alongside specialised support and help from the Rotorua Breast Cancer Trust.
During her year of treatment Tania credits her positive outlook on this much-needed support network, as well as positive experiences during the time.
Rotorua Breast Cancer Trust helped Tania out in a multitude of ways.
There were regular morning teas where people who were sharing similar journeys could catch up and share experiences.
Women who had only just begun their treatment could chat to other women who had finished treatment and wanted to give back by sharing their stories.
The trust also helped out by listening, offering advice, gift baskets, fitness classes like Pink Pilates, Can B Fit or exercise in the pool and activities to share in like jewellery making and art classes.
There are guest speakers and experts who can offer all types of relevant advice that is informative and accessible, along with the benefits of correct wig fitting and head attire workshops and the Look Good, Feel Good programme.
"While the name suggests it deals only with breast cancer, the trust is indeed a benefit to anyone suffering from any kind of cancer," Tania said.
Tania entered the 2018 Pink Walk with friends and family and is looking forward to participating again this year.
With her Pink Walk costume still in the design stages, Tania is quick to add that she still attends regular events and meet ups with the trust, and she wishes to continue to help and give back to the group which helped her so much.
"Breast Cancer is a journey, one that doesn't end with surgery or treatment, but it is not a lone journey. I have had so much support and great experiences, I am just so thankful."
The trust says early detection is key in helping to beat breast cancer, and with 70 to 80 women (and a few men) diagnosed each year within the Rotorua Lakes District Health Board area, the benefits of the trust are vital in helping patients feel supported and making life with cancer just a little bit easier.
This is the Rotorua Breast Cancer Trust's major fundraising event for the year which enables them to support those with breast cancer in the Rotorua community.
There are eight different best dressed prize categories including a special award for "Aunty Bea's Best Bra".
The proceeds raised from registration, donations and sponsorship help to fund education, tailored support, exercise programmes and support groups.
The funds raised at the Rotorua Pink Walk stays in Rotorua and the Rotorua Breast Cancer Trust is thankful for the support of local sponsors, businesses and people within the community who raise money, make donations and offer sponsorship or products for spot prizes.
Rotorua businesses have also been challenged to enter the Paint the Town Pink Business Challenge which involves decorating local businesses pink in support of October being breast cancer awareness month.
Participants and interested readers can check out the trust's website as it is not too late to enter.
There will even be on-the-day registrations from 4.30pm to 6pm for last minute entries.
■What: The Rotorua Breast Cancer Trusts 2019 Pink Walk
■When: Wednesday October 23 from 5pm
■Where: Rotorua's Village Green
■Cost: Child Registration $5, Adult Registration $10, Koha/donations also warmly received
■How: Register at rotoruabreastcancertrust.co.nz/pinkwalk/ or On-the-day Registrations from 4:30 – 6pm.
■Contact: (022) 424 6616 or firstname.lastname@example.org