Primed: The Birdies, from left, Shelley Springford, Janie Reese, Jo Booker, Sarah Pearson, Maria Arhanic, Natasha Wilson, Leanne Hobbs and Jo Neep, on Millbrook's 18th


A Cancer Society 72-hour golfing fundraiser is pretty personal for members of an eight-woman Arrowtown team undertaking the challenge on December 21.

The Birdies, who’ll start their Longest Day Golf Challenge at 6am, will play Millbrook’s
Remarkables and Coronet courses, The Hills and Arrowtown, and are determined to raise $5000 for the cause.

Seven-handicapper Jo Neep, who was diagnosed with myeloma in 2017, says: ‘‘I know only
too well what it’s like to be diagnosed out of the blue with cancer, and it can affect anyone
at any time.

‘‘At the time I was angry, sad and frustrated, but support from family and friends, and particularly the Cancer Society volunteers, has made such a big difference.’’

Volunteers provided support, useful gifts and services like a makeover and wig-fitting

Another of The Birdies, Leanne Hobbs, says the society was ‘‘an absolute rock’’ when her hubby, Ross, had throat cancer.

Another member, Janie Reese, lost her brother and father to cancer while Shelley Springford’s mum’s battling brain cancer.

The Cancer Society’s been ‘‘an invaluable resource to the whole family’’, she says.

The Birdies’ other members are Jo Booker, Sarah Pearson, Maria Arhanic and Natasha

The Cancer Society’s involved with support services, education and awareness programmes and cancer research, and is running The Longest Day Golf Challenge for a second year in a row – over this month and next – as many of its fundraising events have been cancelled.