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Gemma Flynn is new breast cancer ambassador

Gemma Flynn is new breast cancer ambassador

Black Sticks hockey player Gemma Flynn has joined the NZ Breast Cancer Foundation as an ambassador, determined to help get the message about breast awareness out to Kiwi women after her own grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer twice in three years.

Flynn wants women of all ages to be proactive about their health, and when it comes to their breasts, to know how to check, what to do if they suspect a problem, and when they should be going for mammograms.

“Women’s health at all ages is a very important cause for me, and breast cancer is the most common cancer for Kiwi women,” she said. “I want to do my bit to help, and through the NZBCF we can reach out to women on a large scale.”

Flynn is from a large but close-knit family. “I’m very, very close to my nana – all her grandchildren are,” she said. “We spend a lot of time as a family together.” Her grandmother’s first diagnosis with breast cancer five years ago hit the family hard, and the second cancer, discovered two years ago, was an even bigger shock. “Nana is the rock of our family, so her getting sick was a really big deal for us all.”

Her grandmother was successfully treated and is now in good health - but Flynn is aware that many women aren’t so lucky. “I came on board with the NZ Breast Cancer Foundation because of the work they’re doing to educate women about the need to be proactive about breast health, and the support and information they offer women who’ve been diagnosed.”

Evangelia Henderson, chief executive at the NZ Breast Cancer Foundation, said she’s thrilled to have Flynn on board as ambassador. “Gemma is so inspiring to young women, and is known for her hard work and commitment in her sport. I believe that when she tells women to look out for their breast health, they’ll listen!”

The message of early detection is vital because the earlier a breast cancer is found, the greater the chance it can be successfully treated. When a cancer is found on a mammogram, a woman has a 92% chance of being alive 10 years later. With a cancer found as a lump or other symptom, 10-year survival drops to 75%. Mammograms are recommended for women over 40 and are free from age 45 to 69. The NZBCF says women of all ages should know the normal look and feel of their breasts, and report any changes to their doctor.

One of Gemma Flynn’s first acts as an ambassador for the NZBCF will be to walk the 21km Pink Star Walk in Christchurch on October 29, along with fellow ambassador and ex-Silver Fern Maree Bowden. People wanting to register for the fundraising Pink Star Walks in Christchurch and Wellington can do so at www.pinkstarwalk.co.nz .


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