Breast Cancer Foundation NZ is gearing up for a huge month of May, with two awareness and fundraising campaigns launching: #GiveUsOurMammograms and Pink Ribbon Breakfast.

#GiveUsOurMammograms, which began on 1st May, is a new initiative, calling for urgent action on restoring breast screening after Covid-19. The campaign urges New Zealanders to join the charity in sending a strong visual message to the Government: “Give us our mammograms!” People are being asked to take a photo of themselves holding a #GiveUsOurMammograms poster and upload it to www.GiveUsOurMammograms.nz. Breast Cancer Foundation NZ will collate as many photos as possible and deliver them to the Government.

Over 50,000 women are overdue for their mammograms. Breast screening could not happen during the COVID-19 lockdowns, potentially leaving 300 breast cancer diagnoses going undiagnosed and untreated among Kiwi women, and without urgent action, the catch-up will be too late for many.

The Foundation hopes to rally the New Zealand public to demand action to prevent avoidable deaths from breast cancer in Aotearoa. Riding this wave of solidarity, the Foundation will call on the Government to commit $15 million to urgently clear the mammogram backlog and prevent women being diagnosed late. The later patients are diagnosed, the lower their chance of survival.

Ah-Leen Rayner, chief executive of Breast Cancer Foundation NZ says, “Breast cancer is already the leading cause of death for New Zealand women under 65, with Māori and Pacific women most at risk. Mammograms are one of the most effective ways to reduce deaths from breast cancer, so it’s absolutely vital that women can access timely mammograms. That’s why we’re asking New Zealanders to join our call to the Government – please act now to stop more women from being diagnosed with breast cancer too late.”

Coinciding with #GiveUsOurMammograms will be the Foundation’s biggest annual fund-raising campaign – Pink Ribbon Breakfast.

Throughout May, tens of thousands of Kiwis will get together with friends, whānau and workmates to raise awareness of the topic in the public lens, as well as raising vital funds to support the Foundation’s life-saving work.

This year, the Foundation is facing a 50% drop in Pink Ribbon Breakfast registrations on last year – a huge blow after two years of Covid-19 crushing their fundraising efforts. The charity desperately needs to increase registrations to hit its $2 million fundraising target.

“Covid has not only sent New Zealand’s world-class breast screening programme spiralling backwards, it’s also harmed our ability to serve the women impacted by this upheaval. The money raised from every Pink Ribbon Breakfast – no matter how small or simple – will help to support these women. The funds will also go towards our work to restore and transform breast screening in NZ, in our mission to reach zero deaths from breast cancer,” adds Rayner.

People can sign up to host a Pink Ribbon Breakfast at www.pinkribbonbreakfast.co.nz. Once registered, they’ll receive a free host kit with information and goodies to get them started, as well as the #GiveUsOurMammmograms poster to take action. Anyone can host a breakfast, any time or anywhere: no matter how you host, every breakfast is perfect for supporting women with breast cancer.