FIFTY Hastings women united on Friday, March 17 for an evening of creativity, networking and a whole lot of heart.
The Third Shift, a quarterly charity-inspired event, raised money at its March gathering for local woman Jessica Higgins who is battling breast cancer.
The 31-year-old mother of two and wife to Dale, Jess first went to the doctor about a lump in her breast in 2014.
After a series of invasive biopsies and multiple visits to doctors and specialists, Jess was diagnosed with an aggressive and rare form of cancer known as Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC)
And the Hastings community has rallied around the young family through one of their toughest times.
In just two hours on Friday night, more than $2000 was raised with music, art, reikii and health advice filling the inspirational program.
Hosted by a committee led by Lisa Willows and Raylene Alford, The Third Shift at The Latin Loafer is open to anyone wanting to connect at the end of the week for lively, empowering discussion, networking or to just meet with like-minded women.
Lauren Edwards provided music in the beautifully styled setting thanks to the creative Rhiannon Simmons.
Artists Melinda Casey and Adam Murray produced visual performance art pieces auctioned off at the end of the evening.
Reiki shoulder massages and healing chakra alignment by Jodie Alaban and beauty advice by Kara Durose made for a relaxed night of friendship.
How you can help Jess
Jess’ family and friends are organising a fundraising auction to help the Higgins family through treatment and beyond. The event will be held at the Kendall Services and Citizen’s Club on March 25 from 2pm.
The date follows her final round of chemotherapy.
Because Jess is under the age of 50, with no family history of breast cancer, much of the treatment she will undergo isn’t covered by Medicare.
“There will be a few treatments coming up where I have to travel, for the surgery and reconstruction. It’s likely my ovaries will be removed too because it’s an oestrogen-driven cancer. I will need hormone replacement therapy,” she said.
“There may be some clinical trial treatments because it [IBC] is a rare cancer. I’m trying to source the best treatments, what will save my life.
“At this point in life most 30-year-olds have an amount of debt when you’re starting your family life. You don’t expect to get cancer.
“I want the best treatment I can get. You only get one crack at beating this.
“I worry about other young women who are going to get cancer and aren’t able to pay for the best treatments, so they’re not going to have them.
“The MRI I insisted on having, which picked up the cancer, was something we had to pay for. It’s expensive. I worry about women who are going to choose not to have tests to diagnose rare cancers because they can’t afford it.
“They can’t afford to have cancer.”
Jess hopes to donate some of the funds raised on March 25 to a charity for women’s health.
Jess has also started a GoFundMe page which can be found at www.gofundme.com/gt-jesss-journey