By CASS MARRETT
A long lunch at Blue Kanu on Wednesday in honour of breast cancer patient and 34-year-old mother, Sheree Seymour, has raised $22,000.
Owner Karen Hattaway, who’s known Seymour since she was little, says they’re ‘‘thrilled to have our girl back home’’.
‘‘We decided to get a few girls together for some bubbly … there were so many people
wanting to say ‘hi’ to Sheree and I thought it was a great opportunity, too, for people
who wanted to help us.’’
More than 80 women attended the Queenstown lunch, which included entertainment from Shay Muddle, a fashion show by Maori designer Amber Bridgman, speeches, a performance by Mel Wright and an auction of donated artworks and experience packages, worth about
$15,000 all up.
Seymour says it’s ‘‘overwhelming having everyone here for me, to support me’’.
‘‘It doesn’t feel real … but it’s been really nice to see everyone.’’
The lunch was the second of several fundraising events for Seymour — the first, a tattoo fundraiser, was organised by Seymour’s best friend and current roomie, Ebony Webster.
‘‘Having these things to look forward to, I think it’s definitely helped,’’ Seymour says.
‘‘It’s really weird, because I don’t feel like I’ve got cancer.’’
Diagnosed in September, Seymour was soon told the cancer had spread and she was terminal.
Friends and family have since rallied and raised about $38,000 through a Givealittle page.
That was initially to help pay for unfunded treatment, but now it’ll help Seymour stop working and enjoy time with loved ones.
Moving back to Queenstown last month, from Auckland, Seymour was reunited with her daughter, whom she hadn’t seen since Christmas.
She’s now halfway through chemotherapy and considers herself ‘‘lucky’’ as she hasn’t had too many of the usual side effects, except for hair loss.
Used to having long hair, almost to her hips, she was initially concerned about losing it, but when it started to fall out Hattaway came to the rescue.
The Queenstown hospo legend used to cut Seymour’s hair when she was a four-year-old, so after making her a special dinner, Hattaway dusted off the scissors and gave her a new style.
Seymour says she noticed after her diagnosis many things don’t cater to young women with breast cancer — particularly wigs.
‘‘I just found like when I’ve been looking, there’s nothing for anyone that wants to have a wig that’s long hair.’’
She admits being ‘‘so bored’’ not working, so is now thinking about starting an online business importing wigs to help others in her position.