Gratitude after cancer shock


It’s fitting that Juliana Costa’s new music festival’s called Gratitude – it’s an emotion she’s got in spades.

The bubbly 37-year-old Queenstowner’s organising a one-day celebration to raise money for the Cancer Society Otago, after receiving a diagnosis that turned her life upside down.

Just two days before her February wedding, the Brazilian ex-pat was devastated to learn she had breast cancer.

“I was thinking ‘how can I go home now, everyone’s having fun together, getting ready for the wedding’. It was so hard.”

Two days after saying “I do”, she was starting treatment.

She and now-husband Armindo Machado Junior had planned to start a family pretty much straight away.

But given the aggressive nature of the cancer, she didn’t have time to freeze her eggs before starting chemo.

She’s still undergoing treatment, following a double mastectomy in July, but says she’s feeling much better.

To show her appreciation for the people that helped her, she’s organised Gratitude.

The festival will feature a variety of musicians performing everything from traditional Brazilian music to rock, country, and reggae.

Costa will also be singing at the event.

“Hopefully I can repay all the love I’ve been receiving. I’m so grateful.”

She also wants to give people a better idea of what it’s like to battle cancer.

“I think it’s important, people don’t really know about this kind of thing.”

Gratitude Festival will take place at the Queenstown Memorial Centre, Sunday December 9, 6pm.

Tickets are $15.