Angela Jackson has been working as Support Coordinator for Sweet Louise for nearly four years. She lives in Whakatāne and supports around 130 women across the Waikato and Bay of Plenty regions.
“I worked as a Radiation Therapist in Wellington and Waikato Hospitals for 10 years. Then I worked in the Whakatāne community linking people with mental health services and support. It was whilst working in that role that I first heard about Sweet Louise.
“Because I cover such a wide area, I have to spend a lot of time planning trips and travelling. I’m usually away from home at least one night a week. I check in regularly with the women I support through phone calls, emails and text messages.
“My favourite part of this job is organising Family Times for members. That’s when we help organise a treat for a family – a day out, a meal out or a trip away. It has a real feel-good factor. We know that it gives families a huge boost when they get to relax and enjoy time together.
“I also really enjoy our support group meetings. There’s always lots of smiles and laughter. It feels like getting together with your girlfriends! There are harder times though and harder conversations as well when someone in our group is in the advanced stages of their breast cancer.
“It can be harder for women in remote, rural areas to access health care and support. I organise regular Zoom meeting sspecifically for our rural women and I stay in regular touch over the phone. One of the women I support travels over an hour to join the meetings because she really values them.
“Real friendships are made between the women, and I love the opportunity to introduce people to each other and facilitate those friendships and connections.
“It is inspiring to see how women support each other. Together we build a real gang of support!
“It is a huge privilege for me to be part of the lives of so many incredible women.”
Meet our Support Coordinators
“Being a Sweet Louise Support Coordinator is no ordinary job,” says Nadine Morton, Support Coordinator for the Auckland region.
“Every day is unique. I have a background in occupational therapy and counselling and this framework helps me to support our members who are living with incurable breast cancer. We help in whatever way a member needs. I don’t always have the answers but I help where I can.”
When we are called to be bridges
Lesley Narayanan is the Sweet Louise Support Coordinator for Canterbury, West Coast, Otago and Southlands regions. Lesley explains more about her role providing practical, emotional and social support for New Zealanders with advanced breast cancer.
“At Sweet Louise, our kaupapa is to promote and enhance well-being for New Zealanders living with advanced breast cancer. We help with social isolation, connect people and let our members know that they are not alone.”