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Lorraine Downes: our new NZBCF ambassador

It may have been 30 years ago, but who can forget the sight of Lorraine Downes being crowned Miss Universe? Her gorgeous smile lit up our living rooms – the whole nation was chuffed for her, and so proud of her performance on that global stage.

But chances are, no one was prouder than Lorraine’s mum, Glad Downes, who had been, and still is, a rock to all her daughters. When Glad was diagnosed with breast cancer early last year, it was a chance for her daughters to offer the same kind of support they’d always had from their mother.

Thankfully, Glad’s treatment – surgery, chemo and radiation – went well, and she’s back living her active life as a mother and grandmother.

As a result of that experience, Lorraine Downes – no stranger to cancer after the disease affected her niece and her husband – has joined the NZBCF family as our newest ambassador.

“I’m looking forward to getting involved with the Foundation’s programmes,” she says. “I like that the NZBCF works across several fronts – research to help prevent breast cancer and improve treatment, education about the importance of early detection, and support for women who are living with breast cancer.”

Lorraine will be helping us get the message out to older women that they are still at risk of breast cancer – your risk is as high in your 70s as it was in your 50s – and that they need to keep an eye out for changes in their breasts, and to keep having mammograms.

“We’re so grateful that Lorraine has stepped up to help in this important area,” says Van Henderson, chief executive at the NZBCF. “We were proud of Lorraine 30 years ago, and we’re even prouder of her today!”

The NZBCF recommends women should know the signs and symptoms of breast cancer, should continue to have two-yearly mammograms as they age. Women with serious health conditions should discuss breast screening with their doctor.