Pink and proud to support Breast Cancer Foundation

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Two days a year Sharon McWhirter is loud, proud and pink.

The Gore woman puts on her pink wig, cape, clothes, shoes and sash and heads out the door to collect for and co-ordinate the Breast Cancer Foundation street appeal.

Mrs McWhirter said she began collecting for the foundation in 2004 after her sister was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“We were asked if we would like to volunteer to collect because we had a family member with breast cancer – which we did and we loved it.”

Twelve months later her mother was diagnosed with a different form of breast cancer.

The next year Mrs McWhirter co-ordinated the appeal as well as collecting.

Every year she dresses up.

“You’ve got to be out there loud and proud.”

Educating people about the disease was also important to her.

All women, regardless of their age, needed to examine themselves regularly and take notice of any changes in their body, she said.

“If it can be caught early enough, there is more than a good chance you will make a full recovery.

“My sister and mum are good examples of that.”

Men and women could have breast cancer and while many people thought it was an older person’s disease it also affected the young.

“Breast cancer does not discriminate. It happens to young people.”

At present, women aged 45-69 qualified for a free mammogram.

“I personally wish mammograms were free to any woman who had a concern .. my sister was 36.”

Gore River Valley and Gore Hokonui Lions and breast cancer survivors and families will help with the collection on Friday and Saturday.