About Breast Cancer Nirvana (BCN)
BCN provides resources, tips, support and inspiration for people impacted by breast cancer.
I started the BCN website in 2011 after my second diagnosis of breast cancer. I wanted to share learning from my first breast cancer and make things a bit easier for others.
How BCN has added value to others
- Resources and real time diaries of what it’s like to go through a breast reconstruction, chemo and then move on from breast cancer
- Support and connection. Many women have told me that BCN has helped them through their journey. I still receive emails where women share their stories and ask for advice
- Every woman has a different experience of breast cancer and the more unique voices, the better. BCN is one support resource in the toolbox of resources out there
- I’ve written eBooks with my experience and tips
- BCN is consumer and needs driven. I write about topics that are relevant to me and my readers
- People without a direct experience of cancer have learned what it is really like
- I’ve reached out to thousands of people since 2011. Half my visitors are from NZ and the rest from overseas
How I’ve used my website for change
I’ve utilised BCN to promote my vision and projects. My message is for women to put themselves first and utilise all the support and resources they need to survive breast cancer. Then at the end of cancer treatment, many women need targeted support to move on from cancer.
Pacific breast cancer. Through BCN, I started a Pacific breast cancer campaign aiming to improve cancer treatment uptake and survival. I went on Tagata Pasifika showing what chemo was like and I had an idea to start a Pacific women’s cancer support group in Wellington. Lots of great things have come out of that and group is now called Fesoasoani.
I speak about the needs of others based on what I’ve experienced and what women have told me. I’ve been able to join the NCCRAG group and represent a cancer consumer and Pacific Island perspective. I’ve done public speaking too.
I created the Hello Italy Goodbye Treatment tour to help people celebrate and get their spark back after cancer.
Kiribati Cancer Society. In my day job, I’ve worked in international aid and I had a request from the Kiribati Cancer Society to help support cancer services in Kiribati. I’ve started a project to support the Kiribati Cancer Society.
How has technology improved communication?
- We are all unique and like to communicate in different ways. Some of us want to communicate online eg skype, chat groups, Facebook/private groups, YouTube, twitter etc
- I can communicate with thousands of people with one article and through social media with a couple of sentences
- Communicating internationally is as easy as communicating nationally. It’s instant and easy and people can respond instantly too. It is a conversation not one way communication
- People can access support on their own terms, in their own way and at their own time. With low energy, women can simply tap on a keyboard or their phone rather than leave the house
- Websites are flexible and responsive and can change quickly as needs arise
What happened when I reached out to others?
- BCN has allowed me to connect with thousands of different people. I get emails from all around the world and my inbox constantly surprises me
- BCN has helped me find some meaning and purpose in cancer
I’m launching my book Chemo and Back Again in May/June with a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for my website, the Kiribati Cancer Society and to fund some free spaces on the Italy tour. I will keep you posted on how to get involved.
- Hello Italy, goodbye treatment Tours. I’m taking a group of people who’ve finished cancer treatment (plus their supporters) to Italy in April 2016. I’d love you to join me.
- Supporting the Kiribati Cancer Society. I am looking for funds to go to the Kiribati Cancer Society for cancer services. If you can donate, please let me know via firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m grateful for the support of everyone at the Wellington Cancer Society especially Julie, Drew, Chris and Virginia. Sarah, thanks for asking me to write the article.