Queenstown woman goes public on breast cancer battle

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Community stalwart Nicki Smith has a mighty battle on her hands – but she’s determined to win it. 

The gutsy Happiness House boss is in the middle of chemotherapy to treat breast cancer diagnosed four months ago. 

Discovering a large lump on her left breast in April, an otherwise-healthy Smith was naturally terrified when she learned the growth was cancerous and needed a lumpectomy. 

“At the beginning I thought, ‘I’m going to die’. But after the initial shock was over I thought ‘No, I’m not ready yet, I’m going to survive’,” the 42-year-old mum of two says. 

The self-described practical woman turned to positive thinking and believes it’s vital for any cancer sufferer, no matter how awful the chemo side-effects may be. 

“If you feel negative all the time you will be sick. But if I feel positive I can make myself well. 

“Chemo’s actually poison, but I visualise it as a magical potion, and when it’s going into me it’s an army of little white monsters with pink Mohicans carrying bazookas,” she laughs. 

She’s also managed to accept help from others – an unusual concept for someone who spends so much time devoted to aiding local families. 

“Working in a caring environment, I’m so used to supporting other people – they’re the ones with problems. But now it’s me … and I find it really hard sitting back and having people do things for me.” 

She credits the local Cancer Society branch for ongoing support, as well as colleagues, family and friends. 

Once her treatment’s over, Smith and her partner of 20 years, Johnny Meegan, plan to marry on a beach in Rarotonga. 

“It’s about celebrating the life we’ve had, where we are now and
what we have gone through to get here,” she adds. 

The Cancer Society’s 20th annual Daffodil Day fundraiser is tomorrow. The local National Bank branch is holding a cake stall from 9am and a sausage sizzle between 11.30-2pm, plus running a street appeal and selling raffle tickets