Giving comfort, warmth and dignity to cancer treatments

A Tauranga-based clothing business has established a relationship with the Trust with the aim of providing funding to the Trust through a portion of sales of its recently-development garments for patients undergoing cancer treatment.

The Business Tailor has developed a range of garments under the Can Do name to give cancer patients (and others undergoing infusion treatments) something practical and comfortable to wear that allows treatment access without having to remove clothing, as well as being warm, easy-wash and stylish.

Managing Director, Graeme Dick says “We manufacture our garments in Tauranga, using top-quality merino wool and cotton.

Most of our garments are merino, with cotton knitted on the inside to reduce the likelihood of wool allergy amongst patients. There are also 100% cotton garments available, which better suit warmer climates.

All garments have IV and PICC access on both sleeves, and we manufacture garments that separately offer access for Portacath, breast and upper-body treatments.”

“A close friend who underwent treatment was the catalyst for us developing this range. He was one of several patients to trial the clothing to guide us with improvements to the design and final product”.

The Business Tailor aims to support the Trust through its Can Do range and Professor Ian Campbell, Chairman of the Trust endorses this initiative:

“These garments fill a big gap in practical, comfortable, and stylish provision of care for cancer patients. Graeme has put in the time and effort to make sure they fulfil each of these. Well done Graeme!”

Production of the garments is imminent, with the New Zealand market being the first priority. Export markets are currently being developed.

Graeme says “Most people in our country have had some form of contact with cancer. We often feel frustrated with not being able to help friends and loved ones during their journey. We are committed to doing what we can to make patient’s lives more comfortable with dignity while undergoing treatment, so that in some small way, we can help while at the same time, supporting the Trust”.

For more information about the Can Do range, contact Graeme on 027 226 1732 or

Incredible donation

When Cathy Khouri’s mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in the early 1990s, she had a late diagnosis and underwent radical treatment. This was a traumatic time and she was given no choice about her treatment and no option of breast reconstruction.

When Cathy was diagnosed 17 years later, her journey was markedly different. Cathy’s diagnosis was made through a national breast cancer screening programme and her cancer was detected early. Informed consent was very much part of the treatment and care discussions Cathy had with her breast surgeon and other health professionals. The opportunity to discuss her situation with friends and family was quite different from her mother’s experience.

With three adult daughters and a family history of breast cancer, Cathy is reassured that breast cancer treatment continues to be refined and improved through clinical trials research.

Now heading into retirement, dietician Cathy and her husband, dental surgeon Zaf, recently decided to wind-up their charitable trust, which was originally set up to enable continuing professional development for dieticians in the Waikato. Remaining funds from the trust have been donated to the Waikato Breast Cancer Research Trust (WBCRT). With minimal government funding for research, we rely on the generosity of the community to raise funds and the $21,000+ donation was incredibly generous.

Back left to right: Waikato Breast Cancer Research Trust founder Professor Ian Campbell and Zaf Khouri. Front left to right: WBCRT research nurse Jenni Scarlett and Cathy Khouri

With this month marking the 20-year anniversary of research carried out by the WBCRT and having been involved in over 45 clinical trials, there is no doubt that every advance made in treating breast cancer has been the result of research. These advancements include better drug treatments; both chemotherapy and hormonal therapies; improvements in radiotherapy, breast-conserving surgery instead of mastectomy, the development of sentinel node surgical techniques instead of axillary dissection, and reducing treatment side effects and improving quality of life.

“Research ensures evidence-based best practice and Waikato researchers want the best for those in our region diagnosed with breast cancer,” said Professor Ian Campbell, Trust founder and breast surgeon.

“As we progress beyond 2020, the WBCRT is enabling clinical trials which are individualising treatments more to the specific features of each different type of breast cancer. For example, drug treatments are becoming more targeted to specific growth factors of a tumour. As technology develops there are specialised laboratory tests that can examine multiple aspects of a tumour.  The results of these tests will help guide oncology doctors to select future patients who will or won’t benefit from treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy.”

The most common reason given by women for deciding to participate in a clinical trial is that they want to help provide more information for future generations of their family. With their donation, Cathy and Zaf are also wanting to make a difference for future generations of Waikato women.

More than 400 Waikato women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year and Cathy’s own experience has given her some powerful insights into what this is like.  

“When cancer happens, the whole family and everyone who loves them is effected. It has positively changed the way I live the rest of my life. With support and expert advice, I was able to make tough decisions, the results of which were not at the expense of my femininity. I am thankful I have a life after breast cancer; for me early detection was key.”

Our magic partner

The Waikato Breast Cancer Research Trust are proud to be the Official Charity Partner of the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic Netball Team and Netball Waikato Bay of Plenty. 

We love having the BEST netball players in the Waikato and Bay of Plenty supporting the work we do, and they are great role models to encourage everyone to be active. Research shows that regular exercise reduces the risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer, and also reduces the risk of breast cancer recurrence after diagnosis. 

Sadly the decision has been made, due to COVID-19, to suspend the ANZ Premisership competition and the upcoming netball season. We’re saddened for all the players and team as we’re passionate about netball and will miss watching the team playing. Captain Sam Winders beautifully said though that “now is the time for resilience and reflecting on the health of our people.” and the WBCRT couldn’t agree more.

Glasses sales support breast cancer research

The Specsavers Community Program is where Specsavers stores across the country donate a portion of every glasses sale to both a local charity of the store’s choice and to The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ, which is working to eradicate avoidable blindness in the Pacific.

Since 2014 the Waikato Breast Cancer Research Trust have been the local charity supported by the Chartwell and Hamilton CBD Specsavers stores. To date these stores have raised $10,000!

This is an incredible effort from our local community and we are very grateful that Chartwell Specsavers and Hamilton CBD Specsavers have chosen us as their charity to support. 

Their regular donation each quarter has contributed to the introduction of new treatments to improve outcomes and reduce side effects for Waikato and NZ wāhine diagnosed with breast cancer. 

Thank you Specsavers.

Looking for cute christmas gifts?

Shop our ‘Cute as a Button’ or ‘Good Better Best’ range for Christmas this year and help raise funds for local breast cancer research. 

  • Set of 2 mugs – $30. Mix or match, choose from a bunny, kitten, piggy or puppy
  • Set of 4 mugs – $60. Mix or match, choose from a bunny, kitten, piggy or puppy
  • Drink set – $33. Match a drink bottle and mug, choose from a bunny, kitten, piggy or puppy.
  • Good Better Best pack – $60. Pack includes Good Better Best Drink Bottle (one black and one yellow), Good Better Best Tote, two Button Badges and a Button Compact Mirror

October’s Breast Cancer Awarness Month Events

Breast cancer awareness is marked in countries across the world every October, to help raise awareness of early detection and treatment as well as palliative care of this disease. This year we were part of several events to raise awareness of the research and clinical trials we are part of, as well as to raise funds to make our research happen.

The Breeze Waikato started the month riding for awareness with ‘Bras on Bikes’. Camille and Stu were joined by former captain of the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic and Silver Ferns team, Casey Kopua and The Block boys, Sam and Ethan, for a bike ride along Cobham Drive. Despite a downpour at the start of the ride, the team wore smiles throughout the morning dressed in some of our finest decorated bras and their main message was “women and men – check your breasts!”

On 23rd October our Best of Dinner was a stunning event held at the heritage Matangi Dairy Factory. Guests enjoyed stand out entertainment from the recent “We Will Rock You” musical, performed by members of the cast from The Clarence Street Theatre. Our very special guest speaker Rachel Māia moved and inspired the audience with her courage and bravery as she spoke of her journey after leg amputation, including regaining her love of rock climbing that led her to compete internationally and locally.  The dinner was an opportunity to share with guests the work of the WBCRT and inspire them to ‘never let it rest’ with us. 

We were very grateful to Colleen Earby and the Huntly Women’s Allsortz Group for once again organising the Huntly Pink Walk and raising funds for Waikato based breast cancer research. Shelley Moffit from Harcourts Huntly did another fantastic job organising a bake sale (raising $821) and local teenager, Elle Rendell raised $250 from a cake raffle in support of her mother Tania who has been going through breast cancer treatment.

Waikato District Council Mayor Allan Sanson and wife Trish also dressed in pink and showed their support for the cause. Allan has a number of close family members who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Thank you, Huntly, for your fundraising efforts!

On the 31st October over 500 people took part in Hamilton’s Pink Walk & Button Run around Hamilton Lake. We were blown away with the support for local breast cancer research, not only from participants but also local businesses who donated prizes. Braemar Hospital were our main sponsor for the eighth year, and their ongoing support is truly appreciated.

Local band The Meraki entertained the crowd along with our MC, Camille from The Breeze Waikato. Curves Gym got everyone warmed up and we loved having SBI Productions help us out again this year with sound and live streaming.

A special thank you to all of our volunteers who gave up their time to put up promotional signage, help with registrations, marshal around the lake, cook sausages and everything in between.

Over $20,000 was raised through registration fees, raffle ticket sales, merchandise sales, and donations for the sausage sizzle and face painting, by Alicia Sim Artistry. A heartfelt thank you to everyone involved and making the Hamilton Pink Walk another huge success!

As a small, local charitable trust we receive minimal government funding for research and we rely on the generosity of people donating, sponsoring and fundraising for the vital research and clinical trials that make a difference to the diagnosis and treatment of those with breast cancer. Once again thank you to everyone who has been a part of our journey this year.

The better we understand it,

through research,

the BEST we can fight it!

2020 Pink Walk and Button Run

A HUGE thank you to so many individuals, volunteers, businesses and groups for being a part of the 2019 Pink Walk and Button Run! 

A very special thank you to our gold sponsor for eight years now, Braemar Hospital Your ongoing support is truly appreaciated and not only covers the cost of the running this event but also keeps everyone fed after with a great sausage sizzle!

Thank you to SBI Productions for their incredible donation of sound, lighting, screen and live feed again this year. Russell and the team worked extremely hard yesterday for us and we’re excited to see the footage from the event.

Heartfelt thanks goes to Red Events and Errol Newlands for their continued support of the Waikato Breast Cancer Research Trust.

There were many others who contributed to the success of the event…our volunteers that helped with registrations, giving out bibs, selling merchandise and raffle tickets, timing, marshalling, cooking sausages, setting up, packing away and everything else in between! We could not do it without each and every one of our volunteers! 

Thank you to Camille for being our fabulous MC and the whole team from The Breeze Waikato for their support, as well as the Waikato Treasure ChestsWaikato Rugby and Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic for coming on down and the team from Chartwell Curves for warming up the crowd.

Thanks to Winger Hamilton and Schick Civil Construction for helping us share the event with a sign written car and the Waikato Business News for another great feature on breast cancer awareness.

It was great having Mercury support us again this year by providing their marquee and Allied Security Ltd for looking after it overnight as well as Vege-King donating fruit at the finish line. Alicia Sim Artistry also did some beautiful face painting.

The Meraki were fantastic at entertaining the crowd! Thanks to TR Group Truck & Trailer Rental NZ for providing their stage to perform on!

Thank you to Isla Trapski Photography for capturing the event and to your ongoing support and contribution to the work we do.

Thank you to all the businesses that donated prizes, in no particular order: Midas Diamond JewellersFastlane FitnessSkyCity HamiltonBody CafeDirect Group UniformsSouth City Health Pharmacy HamiltonDinsdale Westend PharmacyHot Gossip Bra ShopBunnings south HamiltonPlacemakers Hamilton and Westpac Hamilton.

And last but no least, thank you to all 500 of your that registered and took part in the walk and run, each one of you has contributed to better outcomes for those diagnosed with breast cancer. 💛

From the Waikato Breast Cancer Research Trust we are incredibly humbled by the level of support and contributions from so many. Thank you for helping us “never let it rest”.

BEST OF Dinner 2019

A heartfelt thank you to everyone that contributed to such an incredible event at the Matangi Dairy Factory on 23rd October. We really had the BEST time and throughly enjoyed entertainment from The Clarence St. Theatre and we were moved and inspired by our guest speaker, the bold, brave and beautiful Rachel Māia.

A special thanks to Gallagher Group, our major sponsor, and the many generous businesses and individuals who donated services, time and raffle items.

Photos courtesy of Mirror Magic

Celebrating our volunteers

National Volunteer Week celebrates the collective contribution of the 1.2 million volunteers who enrich Aotearoa New Zealand. National Volunteer Week 2019 runs from June 16-22. This year’s theme is “Whiria te tangata – weaving the people together”.

Here at the Waikato Breast Cancer Research Trust we are very fortunate to have several people who volunteer their time to support us with our events and fundraising efforts. Volunteering, Mahi Aroha and social action weave people and communities together and one volunteer in particular is our angel and over the past two and a half years Margaret Jenkins has been a part of our team every week for a few hours.

Marg’s network of contacts has enabled her to secure incredible auction items for our ‘Best Of’ functions, spot prizes and raffles prizes for our annual Pink Walk and Button Run, and goody bag items for our bi-annual Breast Cancer Conference. She also connects the Trust with the media for advertising. Her wealth of knowledge of marketing and communications has been invaluable to us, as well as her experience of building relationships with people.

“I’m passionate about supporting the Waikato Breast Cancer Research Trust. The team and what they do for women’s survival, and the difference they make to families is incredible. I understand the importance of having parents in your life until you’re an adult yourself, and clinical trials research is fighting for the very best outcomes for women so they can be there in the future with their family.”

We celebrated Marg with a morning tea this week and gifted her with flowers, a voucher and card. Her energy, passion and commitment holds us together, quite fitting given we believe that mothers are like buttons; holding everything together and enables us to really make our events the ‘best of’.

A very active member in her community, Marg is also a Rotarian and volunteers at Kaivolution and is part of the Native Plant Restoration Trust. There is no doubt she is “Whiria te tangata – weaving the people together”.

St Paul’s Collegiate fundraiser

Every year the Harington girls at St Paul’s Collegiate hold a fashion show to showcase their talents. It also forms part of their house competition. They then choose a charity that they want the proceeds of the ticket sales to go to. This year they chose the WBCRT to receive their funds raised, as the guest speaker for the event, Sacha Coburn, is a breast cancer survivor. Well gone girls, $650 was raised!

Speaker Sacha Coburn talked about being a breast cancer survivor and how her partner and she became owners of Coffee Culture cafes. She spoke of life as a young couple with a baby and absolutely no money. If they had visitors, she would check the couch after they had left to see whether any coins had dropped out of their pockets. She also spoke of everyone having something they were good at and learning to recognise what that was.