Karen Fraser (44), of Arrowtown, who died on Monday after
battling breast cancer since March 2010. Photo supplied.
Arrowtown will be painted pink today and tomorrow to mark
breast cancer awareness, which sadly coincides with the funeral
of Karen Fraser, who died from the disease on Monday.
Mrs Fraser's husband Doug told the Queenstown Times
yesterday his wife was diagnosed on her 42nd birthday, in
"She was in the shower one day and she found a lump.
"She rang me and said she was going in for a check-up.
"I thought she'd be right.
"She said 'No, it's breast cancer'."
Mrs Fraser was born in Queenstown but moved to Nelson when
she was 19, where she met Mr Fraser and married him. The
family moved back to the resort in 2006.
The couple have two sons, Alex (18) and Euan (14) both of
whom Mrs Fraser was "very proud of", Mr Fraser said.
"[She] was determined to see Alex perform in ... California
Dreaming on Friday night."
Mr Fraser said the family had been fortunate to have the
support of his wife's "big family" in Arrowtown, along with
the wider community during her battle.
"She was always positive and very strong - determined to beat
it right to the end and [she] never lost her sense of humour.
"We are all very proud of her."
Mr Fraser encouraged every woman to have regular check-ups,
even if there were no signs of abnormalities.
It was thought his wife's lump could have been present for
several years before it was detected.
"You need to go and get checked. If she had a check eight or
nine years ago ... it may have been a tiny lump and they
could have fixed it.
"By that stage [in March 2010] it had spread ... it got into
her bones and spread quite rapidly."
He said two girls would be collecting for breast cancer
awareness at the funeral today, in the Athenaeum Hall, where
people would also be encouraged to wear pink ribbons.
Arrowtown Pink Ribbon Day Street Appeal organiser Julie
Hughes Mrs Fraser's death was "gut-wrenchingly hard" for the
family, their friends and the wider community.
"We want to make sure women out there think about it and get
their checks done.''
Mrs Hughes said seeing the devastation breast cancer and
cancer caused to families, friends and communities was
"For breast cancer to strike down somebody like Karen is hard
for the family, her friends and the community.
"It's not fair.
"But, from my angle, if I can save one person's life [by
raising money and awareness through Pink Ribbon Day] it's
"If people come along, support breast cancer awareness, think
about it and do a self-check that day, it's worth it."
Following the street appeal today, Dorothy Brown's will
screen "Pink Ribbon feature" The Sapphires as a fundraiser.
The Pink Ribbon Day Street Appeal will continue tomorrow,
when members of the Arrowtown Volunteer Fire Brigade and the
Buckingham Belles will help with the collection.