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Updated: Nov 2, 2023

Some friends are meant to do great things together…

My courageous friend Meli sat with me and shared her own personal story of how breast cancer had become part of her life, the people she had met along the way and an unmovable idea of how we could work together, to hopefully help make breast awareness more prevalent.

AWARENESS EDGE was then born!

To be trusted with such a profound campaign project, to share each message from the women who have joined us in this campaign, was not only humbling but incredibly hard at times, to see the reality of breast cancer and that not everyone makes it through.

We were driven with a defined purpose - to raise awareness of breast cancer in women within Aotearoa.

I hope that together, we have created something honest, beautiful and real, with a message that encourages all women to become more aware of breast cancer.

Below are a preview of selected images from our 'AWARENESS EDGE: Breast-Wise Edition' campaign

From the campaign creator, Photographer and participant - Meli Berends.

Together we have been creating an awareness campaign using my photography and Eloise’s design where our target audience is young women who don’t yet qualify for free breast screening. This project is significant to me as I had my own diagnosis at the age of 33 and I am wanting to create awareness that this is not just an older woman’s disease in the hopes that all women will be proactive about their own health through self-checking.

One facet of photography is being able to use it as a tool to share a message, raise awareness and to educate. One night I just couldn’t sleep. I knew I had to create an awareness campaign to encourage young women under the age of 45 to start being proactive about their own health by making self-checking their breasts part of their normal monthly routine. In NZ free breast screening in the form of mammograms aren’t available to women under 45 as often breast tissue is just too dense for a mammogram to be effective. This doesn’t mean however that breast cancer in young women isn’t a thing. I had just turned 33 when I found what turned out to be 3 lumps in my breast. I found them by accident, I wasn’t looking and sometimes I feel ill when I think, “What if I hadn’t found them when I did?” “What if I had been too late?” I feel grateful everyday to be here and I feel strongly that it is important that other young women understand that this isn’t just an older woman’s disease.

For this campaign I have photographed women who were all under 45 at their diagnosis. The youngest participant was just 27 at her diagnosis! This tells me that we need to share this information with other young women.

If you learn your own ‘normal’ then you will know if something ever appears as not your own normal. This gives you a better chance of survival.


Meli and I are looking forward to talking to you all more about our 'AWARENESS EDGE: Breast-Wise Edition' Campaign with Ines, next Monday 31st October via GTB Events.

View the full campaign here:

See you soon!


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