About Breast Cancer Nirvana
Breast Cancer Nirvana is a New Zealand website. My legal name as a sole trader is FAIRBAIRN, ANDREA JOY T/A BREAST CANCER NIRVANA and THE JOY AGENCY. Any purchases made will appear on your statement as THE JOY AGENCY.
Breast Cancer Nirvana is a social enterprise; a business with social objectives. Social enterprises are businesses that trade to tackle social problems, improve communities, people’s life chances, or the environment. They make their money from selling goods and services in the open market, but they reinvest their profits back into the business or the local community.
What are the goals of BCN?
- BCN is outcome focused: studies show that women with more support are more likely to survive BC. I want to give women a better chance of survival.
- It’s so important to have positive things available for women with BC. BCN provides resources to get a better chance of survival.
- To tell positive stories about how BC can be a positive life experience post-BC.
- Using my experience for good. Sharing the ups and downs and gory details.
- Assisting understanding and communication. To change the conversation on BC and demystify the reality of cancer and;
- My own benefit – my sanity and therapy.
Why am I doing BCN?
- It started as therapy, for my own sanity, part of my personal development and healing process. I wasn’t trying to get anywhere with it. But I’ve been consistent with this and now it’s helping others.
- To increase understanding of BC. I have documented my experiences even when I felt rotten. I wanted to use my experiences for good.
- When I had BC the first time, it was hard and there was so much learning in that time. But when I got BC the second time, it felt different; I had already learned as much as I could learn about BC. This time, I felt that part of the purpose of my BC was to help others and that it was less about me..sort of my destiny.
- To other women and their families. People want to see success stories of people come through BC with flying colours. It helps others with uncertainty and they will know what to expect.
What I hope to get out of BCN?
- More support for those going through BC translating into better lives and increased BC survival rates
- Sharing of my real experience might help others
- To increase understanding. To change the conversation and understanding of cancer, open the curtains and to reduce awkwardness.
- My sanity and personal development!
Who does BCN target?
- People at any stage of breast cancer and their families
- For people who have not had cancer but want to understand more about cancer e.g. my eBook. 10 Dos and Don’ts when supporting someone with breast cancer written for families and friends of someone with BC.
- In NZ, currently one in nine women will have breast cancer and we are all affected by these statistics.
- BCN is useful to anyone in the world going through BC. However,BC is the most common form of cancer to affect New Zealand women – every year 2,750 women and 20 men in this country will be diagnosed.
Media Release 15 June 2012
Surviving breast cancer not once, but twice has spurred one Pacific woman to share her personal journey of highs and lows to help others.
What started as something quite personal for Andrea Fairbairn has turned into an opportunity to raise awareness amongst Pacific women.
“It started as therapy, for my own sanity and healing process. I wasn’t trying to do it for anyone but me at first when I kept my first cancer journal in 2007. But as I’ve continued to tell my story online, many women are telling me how its helping them get through their own ordeal,” says Andrea.
The Wellingtonian started documenting her story online in 2011 as a way of coping with her second diagnosis. She was first diagnosed with breast cancer on her 39th birthday. Not surprisingly the news hit her hard. Now 44, Andrea says it’s been different the second time round.
“When I had breast cancer the first time, it was hard and there was so much learning in that time. But when I was diagnosed a second time, it felt different. I had already learned as much as I could learn about the disease. This time, I felt that part of the purpose of my breast cancer was to help others and less about me.”
Writing about her condition gave her some solace from the strenuous treatments and thus http://breastcancernirvana.co.nz was created.
“The name came about as I wanted the website to help people find some peace, support and inspiration – that breast cancer could take people to a good and potentially better life post cancer. Breast cancer can be a life changer in every way but also, many people in retrospect talk about how cancer somehow helped to change their lives for the better. Not everyone obviously but there is potential for it to be a positive change agent in people’s lives,” she explains.
As well as telling her journey, it’s been a vehicle to tell other inspiring stories, as well as provide a hub of practical tips and resources.
“I wanted to celebrate everything positive that I have experienced in my journey and to raise awareness of breast cancer, especially amongst our Pacific and Maori women. Statistics show that we are more likely to die from the disease, more likely to get more aggressive forms of cancer, and less likely to go for mammograms.”
Andrea was diagnosed with HER2-positive breast cancer that only constitutes 20 per cent of breast cancers. HER2-positive breast cancers tend to be more aggressive than other types of breast cancer. She is still going through Herceptin treatment with side effects of fatigue, low immunity and headaches but is happy to receive this drug through the public health system as with her last diagnosis, Andrea was required to pay nearly $70,000 (the majority provided by friends and family through fundraising).
Normally quite shy, she says the website has enabled her to reach out to a wider audience not only here but overseas. Knowing that it’s making an impact has seen her continue to build up the website despite suffering regular migraines, nausea and allergies.
“Women have told me they want to see more success stories of people come through Breast Cancer with flying colours. If it gives people a little certainty about what to expect then it’s worth it,” says Andrea.
Andrea believes the next natural step was to raise funds for the Cancer Society. She is holding a charity auction on Wednesday, 27 June at Macs Brew Bar, Cable Street, Wellington.