A 30-year-old woman from Ruakaka who was diagnosed with stage 4 triple negative breast cancer last year is encouraging Kiwis to get involved with Pink Ribbon Breakfast month this July.
When Hollie Mcintyre first discovered a lump in her breast in May 2019, she was told she had a benign cyst. Five months later the lump had grown and when she went back to the doctor, she was told she had terminal breast cancer and only had six months left to live. She has undergone a range of treatments in an attempt to shrink the tumours which have spread to her chest, spine and ovary.
Now Hollie urgently wants to raise awareness about breast cancer among younger women. She is hosting a Pink Ribbon Breakfast in the hope of spreading the word and raising vital funds to drive early detection and ground-breaking research to prevent further deaths.
“I signed up for Pink Ribbon Breakfast because I wanted to raise awareness of metastatic breast cancer in young people, and also keep myself busy and keep my mind off the treatment,” says Hollie. “I’ve set myself a target of raising $2,500 for Breast Cancer Foundation. A few friends are helping me to organise things because I’ll be in Auckland for my radiation.
Hollie says she wants other young women to have a better understanding about breast cancer and how it is diagnosed.
“I wish I had pushed for a second opinion when I first discovered my lump, and wasn’t so relaxed about it. It possibly could have saved my life if I’d taken that extra step to investigate further, but there were so many things I didn’t know about. I want to share my journey so that hopefully this doesn’t happen to anyone else.”
Last year more than 151 Pink Ribbon Breakfasts were held in Northland, where more than 165 people are diagnosed with breast cancer each year.
With more than 3,300 women across the country diagnosed with breast cancer every year, and more than 650 a year still dying, the need for support is greater than ever. This has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, where around 400 women who would have received a breast cancer diagnosis missed out on getting mammograms or a referral from their GP, delaying their ability to start treatment. Proceeds from Pink Ribbon Breakfast will go towards helping these women get the support they need, as well as those already undergoing treatment.
“We are so grateful to everyone who is taking part in Pink Ribbon Breakfast,” says Breast Cancer Foundation NZ chief executive Evangelia Henderson. “This year, the Covid-19 situation has made life harder for breast cancer patients, so the need for support has never been higher.
“Thanks to the generosity of Kiwis up and down the country, we are able to continue our life-saving work. The proceeds raised from Pink Ribbon Breakfast will bring us one step closer to our vision of zero deaths from breast cancer. So, please get involved in whatever way you can – your support will make a real difference.”
n For more information and to register to host a Pink Ribbon Breakfast, visit pinkribbonbreakfast.co.nz
A terminal diagnosis has only made Ruakaka women Hollie Mcintyre more determined to promote breast cancer awareness.