Until Cathy Lawrence’s niece was diagnosed with breast cancer last year, she had never heard of Shocking Pink.
But after seeing how the charity supported Rebecca van Dijk (nee Dooley) through her recent chapter with triple negative breast cancer, Mrs Lawrence is now one of its biggest supporters.
She has organised two fashion shows in Oamaru next week with Style 358 to raise money for Shocking Pink, the New Zealand charity dedicated to supporting young women aged 20 to 45 who have breast cancer.
Many young women diagnosed with breast cancer encounter issues those outside their age range do not.
They often have to very quickly undergo fertility treatment before starting chemotherapy, as well as dealing with the stresses associated with having cancer.
For Mrs van Dijk, who was diagnosed five months after getting married aged 32, the support of Shocking Pink had been invaluable.
“It put me in touch with other ladies not only going through cancer, but whose cancer was causing havoc in their life in the exact same way,” Mrs van Dijk said.
“Most of the [other] support groups are full of older people who have had their chance to have a family, get married, buy a house, to do all that stuff – I was always the youngest person at any chemo or radiation appointment by a good couple of decades.
“Then I went to a Shocking Pink lunch in Auckland .. [and] could finally chat to people who got it. We laughed about all the things people not going through it are uncomfortable to talk about, we shared our fears and concerns that we don’t want to tell those closest to us.
“The bond was amazing.”
Mrs Lawrence was buying tickets for another Style 358 fashion show fundraiser and, in passing, asked owner Zelie Allan how to go about organising a fashion show for Shocking Pink.
“As soon as I said Shocking Pink, breast cancer, she said ‘yes, when do you want it?’,” Mrs Lawrence said.
Mrs Allan had never heard of Shocking Pink before then, but she loved the charity’s mission.
“I had breast cancer in 2014, so I’ve been there, done that – lived that mongrel 10 months,” she said.
Mrs Lawrence heaped praise on Mrs Allan for her support.
“I love Oamaru for fundraising – they’re really, really good, everyone has got behind it,” Mrs Lawrence said.
Mrs Lawrence has sourced local models of all ages, shapes and sizes to parade the latest fashion at Style 358 for the July 2 and 3 events.
Proceeds from ticket sales will go to Shocking Pink, and Mrs Allan will also donate 10% of all sales on the nights of the fundraiser to the charity. There will also be raffles at the events.
The fashion shows start at 7pm on July 2 and July 3. Tickets are $15 and available in store at Style 358 or by phoning (03) 437-1358.