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Kiwi friends come up with quirky 'boob beads' jewellery to help raise awareness for breast cancer


Breast cancer effects thousands of New Zealand women and their families every year but two Kiwi friends are using some unique jewellery to spread awareness for the Breast Cancer Foundation.

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It effects thousands of Kiwi women and their families every year. Source: Seven Sharp

Kenny McArthur and Vanessa Lowe around seven years ago and have since become "good mates" who could share a laugh and coffee together - even when Vanessa was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Then, on one particular coffee date soon after Vanessa had just started her treatment, they came up with an idea off a peculiar request by Vanessa.

The pair were discussing how Starship Hospital children get beads when they go through different treatments which led to Vanessa asking Kenny, a jewellery designer, if he could make her a "boob bead".

"I said, 'the kids get cool beads. What about the adults?'"

Kenny happily obliged.

It’s fun, its brought humour into a really tragic situation for people and its made them laugh and cry, be happy.

Kenny wanted to make Vanessa the breast-shaped beads to lift her spirits through her treatment.

"They've had different meanings to me throughout the journey," she said.

"It was a comfort kind of thing playing with them, and now, luckily that I am cancer-free and finished my treatment, it's really more of a memento and it reminds me of all of that struggle."

However, Kenny admitted he also had a personal reason for making the beads. After he lost his sister to breast cancer.

Vanessa says the boob beads can be awkward for people, especially some men, but more importantly they're conversation starters.

"If it can be a reminder for people to have a mammogram or to check - if it gives that instinctual thought in their head of, 'I better get it checked out','‘what’s that lump? I better get that checked,' then I think that's another way that it can help."