I was 21 when my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and I had just graduated as a registered nurse. We were told mum’s cancer was serious and had spread to her lymph nodes. My two younger sisters were eight and eleven at the time. I was devastated by this news and worried for the future of my sisters to be growing up without their mother who fortunately lived a further 10 years.
My youngest sister, the “baby” of seven, had been the most dependent on mum and missed her terribly. Years later, when she became a mother and tried to settle her crying and unsettled babies, she would ask, “What would mum have done?”
When a mother is no longer present, it changes the family dynamics. From my own experience our family seemed to fall apart. Mothers are like “buttons” they hold everything together. Our family had lost our button. This brings the connection of why the Trust changed its logo to a button, and the colour yellow to distinguish its commitment to Waikato, compared to the pink of the Breast Cancer Foundation NZ and other breast cancer groups.
The yellow button logo of the Waikato Breast Cancer Research Trust (WBCRT) reflects the many women we meet, who through their breast cancer journey “hold” their families/whānau together. The vision of the WBCRT is to “gain knowledge and save lives” and through evidence based best practice, ensure that many other families will still have their button, their mother.
One of the sayings my mother had was, “Good, better, best, never let it rest, until the good gets better and the better gets best”, to encourage my siblings and I in relation to our schoolwork to achieve the best that we could do. Adopting this motto, the WBCRT’s commitment to breast cancer research is to strive to do better, to improve the outcomes of those diagnosed with breast cancer. Until there is a cure for all breast cancers, we must never let it rest!
Jenni Scarlet – Research Nurse& Secretary, Waikato Breast Cancer Research Trust