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Hannah Brittain - Regional Rep Co-ordinator and Wellington Region

I'm a 33 year old female living in Wellington. My family moved to new Zealand in the early 1990s. I came across this charity 3 years ago after I had been diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia. Struggling to make a sense of my new normal and finding people my age who could understand what I had gone through became paramount and the connections I made, and experiences I had, were invaluable. Following my second diagnosis and subsequent bone marrow transplant, I have decided not to return to work as an addictions counsellor.

My passion is trying to establish a supportive network for people of a similar age with similar experiences as I believe it is absolutely essential for navigating the cancer storm.

To contact Hannah directly email hannah@wholelottalife.org

 
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Kristin Paterson - Director, Nelson Region

In 2009, at 26 years of age, I had just had my second daughter, Chloë, when I was admitted to hospital with a suspected case of mastitis.  A long week later, I was having biopsy surgery, while I lay there wide awake, because the tumour in my chest was so large it was too dangerous to use anesthesia.

I received my diagnosis for Hodgkin's Lymphoma, and everything in my life started to get turned on its head. I felt more and more isolated as my condition worsened and I struggled to relate to my friends and family. It was a pretty lonely feeling at a time when I really needed a lot of support.

Fast forward to October 2012, as I lay in bed reading through a copy of 'Cure' magazine, I came across an article about young adults diagnosed with cancer. They stated that the group called AYA's, adolescents and young adults (15-39yrs), had not seen their survival statistics improve since the 1970's while the groups either side had been steadily improving. I was really floored, and I felt called to action but I also had no idea how to tackle such a monumental challenge.

Early 2013, I came up with a plan, and I knew I had to dream big. What young people needed was a community, support and access to information that related to them specifically. I wanted to take some of the stress and 'work' out of having cancer for young people in New Zealand. I want to provide all the information they will need in one place so that people can better focus on living. And so the Whole Lotta Life Foundation was born.

To contact Kristin directly email kristin@wholelottalife.org

 
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Kim Humphries - Christchurch Region

I was diagnosed with a rare & aggressive form of blood cancer at the age of 31. I had to give up my job, and spent months in an isolation ward in Christchurch. After treatment had finished, I expected to jump back into normal life again. But I was lonely, even though I had a lot of support through friends & family, I felt extremely isolated because I only met a couple of people close to my age who I could relate to. I found this the hardest part of my journey. Then I came across the Whole Lotta Life Foundation & met many wonderful strong people who had similar stories which made me realise I wasn't alone.

 

Elizabeth Noakes - South Canterbury Region

Six weeks before I was set to move from Sydney, Australia to a small town in South Canterbury and at the age of 28, I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer (invasive ductal carcinoma). Because of my age, I felt very alone during my surgery and treatment as I could not find another young adult who had gone through the same experience. After spending hours checking out different pages, support groups and foundations, I came across Whole lotta Life, a foundation just for young adults, I finally found my connection and they have been a great support ever since.

To get in touch with any of our regional reps, just email support@wholelottalife.org!