Survivor out to raise awareness

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A Central Otago cancer survivor is giving back to a cause close to her heart.

Biddy Sheehan (50) had a double mastectomy last year after a routine mammogram detected a lump in one of her breasts.

A year on, her story is one of survival.

She said she owes that to the free mammogram she made herself go to.

From the age of 45, women are eligible to a free mammogram every two years.

For Mrs Sheehan, it was just her second mammogram, the first of which came back normal.

“This next one just showed some changes, so I ended up going to Breast Care in Dunedin.”

What her routine mammogram detected was a lobular cancer and after further investigation, a secondary cancer was found.

“The great thing was they were both [found] really early, which meant I had a better outcome and that was from attending the routine mammogram.”

Due to the risk of the cancer returning, Mrs Sheehan opted to have a double mastectomy and she is now an advocate of women going for their check-ups.

Mrs Sheehan has recently retired from midwifery to take on the role of kaimahi mauri ora (Maori health worker) at Uruuruwhenua Health.

Two weeks in, she is enjoying the slower pace the role offers, which has also allowed her some time to plan a Pink Ribbon morning tea in support of breast cancer awareness.

The event will take place on July 28 at 10am, but a location has yet to be confirmed.

Last year, thousands of New Zealanders raised $1.9million by hosting a Pink Ribbon Breakfast.

Money raised this year will help fund breast cancer education, life-saving research, and support patients and their families.

Participants can give money on the day, or online by searching Uruuruwhenua Health at pinkribbonbreakfast.co.nz to help support breast cancer research.

To register for Mrs Sheehan’s event phone 0800-087-8087 or email biddy@uruuruwhenuahealth.co.nz