I spoke at a function the other night to raise money for a wonderful woman who has Her2 breast cancer. I don’t know the woman or her friends but was privileged to be asked.

Although I did wonder…what sort of country do we live in when a woman in her prime with two young children has to rely on the generosity of her friends and complete strangers for that matter.

It was a remarkable display of human kindness, people sat patiently through 50 auction items all contributing where and when they could. This was the second function so I was delighted to hear that they had raised the $100,000 necessary for her Herceptin treatment.

Whilst this article is nothing about parenting (I am not sure whether one week into a very busy and chaotic school holiday I can find anything positive to say) this is to serve as a reminder to all women how important it is that we get those regular important checks.

I have been prompted to get the warrant of fitness done, so firstly I have been for a skin check and having another dodgy mole removed. I have put the reminder for the smear test at the top of the pile and will do that as well as have a mammogram as soon as the kids go back to school.

It really isn’t good enough to live by the adage that  “what you don’t know won’t hurt you” and I must admit I bury my head in the sand. No amount of television advertising does it for me, but when you personally meet someone it becomes real.

I am amazed after having four children all C-section that I have this overwhelming embarrassment about lying, standing or whatever in your morning glory. I know they have seen it all before, but I get clammy just thinking about it. Silly really, but hey we all have our phobias to contend with.

Early detection is best and, whilst the statistics are scary, the recovery if picked up early is quite phenomenal. Recently I launched a new website to encourage women to get active by walking; www.wonderwalkers.co.nz is aimed to give women a daily fix of humour and health without the guilt factor. Surprisingly I did some research and whilst we all know the benefits of exercising, studies have found that women diagnosed with breast cancer significantly improve their chances of survival by undertaking regular exercise, especially walking.

Anyway as they say in the ads..do it for your whanau and get those important checks done now.



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Dame Susan Devoy is New Zealand's Race Relations Commissioner, and a World Open champion squash player. She's the former CEO of Sport Bay of Plenty and super-mum to four boys.

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