Longest day done: Members of ‘The Birdies’ golf team, who played 72 holes in Arrowtown last week to raise money for the Cancer Society are, from left, Jo Neep, Sarah Pearson, Mairi Raby, Jane Parker, Jo Booker, Janie Reese, Jackie Hamilton and Kelly Mackenzie

Two Queenstown golf courses went to ‘The Birdies’ last week, as a group of eight locals played 72 holes for a cause close to their hearts.

Sarah Pearson, Mairi Raby, Jane Parker, Jo Booker, Jackie Hamilton, Kelly Mackenzie, Janie Reese and Jo Neep spent a total of 15 hours across Millbrook Resort, where they played the 36-hole course, and Arrowtown golf course, completing the 18-hole course twice, as part of The Longest Day challenge, raising money for Cancer Society.

It’s the third consecutive year the women — with some slightly different members each year — have participated in the event.

While they’ve all been affected in some way by cancer, last Thursday was a particularly poignant day for Neep, who was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2017 and was too sick to join in last year.

She says living with her treatable but incurable cancer is a mental and physical challenge.

‘‘It never goes away.

‘‘It festers inside, growing slowly until it breaks through the drug barrier, only to be battered back by stronger, more toxic, chemo.’’

Noting there are only a handful of treatments currently available, Neep says her body see-saws between ‘‘being ravaged to looking and feeling OK’’.

‘‘The Cancer Society understand this fight and are a good sounding board, providing counselling and practical help when required.

‘‘I am both touched and proud that my golfing buddies are continuing the effort to raise funds for the Cancer Society.’’

Reese says the women are particularly grateful to the two clubs who helped with accessible tee-times, carts and covered green fees — without their assistance, The Birdies wouldn’t have been able to achieve their goal which, to date, has raised more than $9000.

They’re also indebted to their support crew, with them from dawn till dusk, who kept them hydrated and fuelled.

‘‘When you find out a loved one has cancer you feel quite helpless, really,’’ she says.

‘‘It is the least that we can do to raise awareness of the Cancer Society and the amazing support that they provide to families going through the cancer journey.

‘‘It feels like no one has any answers, but in fact Cancer Society is full of resources to share, that allow some additional peace of mind.’’

She notes this year The Birdies dressed in ‘‘Hawaiian theme’’ to represent the many bright and variable attributes and attitudes support crew can bring to a cancer patient.

To donate, visit longestday.org.nz/t/the-birdies-team

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