History of BCS Inc.
Breast Cancer Support had its beginnings in Auckland over 30 years ago when Maureen Roberts decided to visit breast cancer patients in hospital. She soon realised there was a need for one-on-one support as the demand for her visits increased and in 1974 she was joined by Barbara Seddon.
“The Mastectomy Association Inc” was formed in September 1975. Based on the American, “Reach for Recovery Programme”, an organisation incorporated into the American Cancer Society, the service was introduced nationally into New Zealand in the late 1970’s under the auspices of the Cancer Society and was re-named the “Mastectomy Rehabilitation Service.”
It became clear that the services BCSS offered had to meet the needs of both rural and urban local areas.
Establishing support groups in the Auckland area was a natural progression as the length of a hospital stay decreased and the need for longer term, ongoing support became clear. These groups were led by Volunteer Coordinators, trained Visitors who had experienced breast cancer themselves and were at least two years post diagnosis. These groups became known as “Breast Friends”.
Around 2000, the incorporated national body of BCSS was put in abeyance and each BCSS group worked under the umbrella of its local Cancer Society. In 2006 Breast Cancer Support Service and the Auckland Cancer Society mutually agreed that the organisation could grow and function more effectively in the Auckland area as an independent Incorporated Society. At a special General Meeting held at the Auckland Cancer Society on the 16th October 2006, members voted that BCSS become an Incorporated Society and shorten its name to Breast Cancer Support (BCS). The Certificate of Incorporation was issued on 2nd November 2006. On 13th June 2007 BCS was registered as a charitable entity under the Charities Act of 2005. Other groups throughout the country have followed a similar path or made the changes necessary to meet the needs of the women in their areas.
Maureen Roberts had a simple yet ambitious goal – to offer support to women experiencing breast cancer from a positive and personal perspective. This desire to help remains at the heart of BCS and over the years, the organisation has changed and adapted to ensure Maureen’s vision is fulfilled. From hospital bed to home, BCS continues to offer individual and group support, helping women and their families cope with the challenging journey that is an experience with breast cancer.