The stars of "Kiwi Stories of Breast Cancer"


On this page you can find out more about those who appear in BCAC's Kiwi Stories of Breast Cancer. Our thanks go to all those below, who were brave enough and generous enough to share their stories so that others could learn more about breast cancer.


Raewyn Calvert is a mother of three who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2003 when she was 48.  She had a mastectomy and delayed reconstruction using the TRAM flap method.  Raewyn participated in a clinical trial  to compare different methods of surgery to the lymph nodes  and has participated in the SOLE Trial, comparing different treatment schedules of an aromatase inhibitor to prevent breast cancer recurrence

  Toni Cox is a mother of two who was diagnosed with infiltrating lobular carcinoma. She had a mastectomy and immediate reconstruction, followed by chemotherapy and radiation therapy.  She is currently on tamoxifen.
  Mereheeni Hooker was diagnosed in 2010 with HER2-Positive breast cancer.  She had a partial mastectomy and received Herceptin treatment. She is taking tamoxifen as her cancer was hormone receptor positive.
Blossom Albuquerque was diagnosed in 2006, with triple negative ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). She had a partial mastectomy to her right breast.  The cancer returned in 2008 and she then had a full mastectomy to her right breast, a breast reconstruction with a silicon implant followed by chemotherapy.
Annabel Reeves-Smith was first diagnosed with early breast cancer 2001. In 2010, Annabel was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer that had spread to her brain and bones.  She is currently receiving chemotherapy.
Lisa Beamsley, a mother to a young son, was diagnosed in her late thirties with invasive hormone receptor positive breast cancer.  Lisa underwent surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Brian Tyson is a BRCA gene carrier. He was first diagnosed with early breast cancer in 2005 and was recently diagnosed with secondary breast cancer. He had a mastectomy and chemotherapy and sadly died in June 2011.   
June Northcroft Grant (Te Arawa) was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2003 in her early 50s. She had a lumpectomy, chemotherapy and radiation.
Jenny Brell, a mother of two, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006 when in her forties. She chose to have a full mastectomy rather than a lumpectomy. She then had chemotherapy, followed by tamoxifen as an anti-oestrogen therapy for her hormone receptor positive breast cancer.
Veronica Phipps is a mother of one who was diagnosed in her thirties with grade 3, stage 2 breast cancer. Veronica had a right mastectomy and is thinking about reconstruction. She has completed chemotherapy, followed by radiation therapy.
Kathleen Smith is a mother of three who was diagnosed in 2008 with lobular breast cancer.  Kathleen had a lumpectomy and then a mastectomy.  This was followed by chemotherapy, radiation therapy and then tamoxifen treatment.
Jenny Williams is a mother of three who was diagnosed in 2008 with inflammatory breast cancer.  Jenny had chemotherapy, radiation therapy and then a mastectomy. The cancer returned in 2009 and she now has secondary breast cancer which has spread to her liver.  Jenny continued treatment for some time but sadly passed away 2012.


Trina Richards is a Registered Nurse and was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010 when in her mid-forties. She had a lumpectomy followed by radiation therapy and then tamoxifen treatment.




Yvonne Patmore was diagnosed with invasive carcinoma in her mid-sixties, two weeks after her daughter Toni (pictured near the top of the page) received a similar diagnosis.  She had a lumpectomy, radiotherapy and is on tamoxifen.


   Debra Maddocks is 47 years old and was diagnosed with breast cancer in June 2010. She had a lumpectomy and chemotherapy and has recently completed radiation therapy.


  Whanau who appear in Kiwi Stories of Breast Cancer


  Raechel Leishman is the sister of Lisa Beamsley and supported her throughout her breast cancer journey.
  Gavin Smith is Kathleen's husband and has started a men's support group since his wife's diagnosis.  You can contact Gavin to find out more about the men's support group.
  Darin Grant (Te Arawa) is June's son.
  Rowan Sweeney is Debra's partner of more than 15 years.


Medical professionals who appeared in Kiwi Stories of Breast Cancer


  Associate Professor Ian Campbell is a Breast and General Surgeon in Hamilton. He chaired the New Zealand Guidelines Group Development Team to produce guidelines for the 'Management of Early Breast Cancer' in 2009. Ian is Clinical Director at the Breast Care Centre, Waikato Hospital and a member of the NZ Association of Cancer Specialists Breast Special Interest Group. He is a member of the ANZBCTG Scientific Advisory Committee.
  Dr Claire Hardie is a consultant Radiation Oncologist. She obtained Fellowship at the Royal College of Radiologists in the UK before immigrating to New Zealand in 2007. Claire chairs the Palmerston North Hospital multi-disciplinary breast cancer meetings.
  Dr Richard Isaacs is a medical oncologist at the MidCentral Regional Cancer Treatment Service. He has chaired the New Zealand Breast Cancer Special Interest Group since 2008 and is a member of the Australian New Zealand Breast Cancer Trials Group. He has been active in advocating for improved access to new drug therapies for New Zealand women with breast cancer, and was awarded an MNZM in 2009 for his services to oncology.
  Cheryl MacDonald is a Clinical Nurse Specialist (Breast Care) with the MidCentral Regional Cancer Treatment Service and has been a Breast Care Nurse for 12 years. She works across the entire breast cancer journey from diagnosis to treatment and palliative care. She is engaged in post graduate study at present and has a strong interest in survivorship issues after breast cancer. Cheryl lives with her husband and two sons on a lifestyle block and enjoys the occasional glass of wine, being the only female in the house.
  Danute Leathem is a clinical psychologist with a wide variety of experience in different health settings. Her practice is based in Auckland where she works supporting women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.