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Friends rally round

SARAH CODDINGTON
Last updated 05:00 19/08/2010
FRIENDS
BEN WATSON
HANGING OUT: Dee West and son Jonathan, left, with Natalie Murphy and her son Jackson.

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DEE West had never met Natalie Murphy, who is battling terminal cancer, but wanted to help her.

Now the North Shore Times has brought the Facebook friends together to meet in person for the first time.

Mrs West and two other North Shore mums, including her best friend of 29 years Kerryn Devine, are helping organise a fundraiser to help pay for alternative treatments for Mrs Murphy.

They have set up a Facebook page called Hand in Hand for Natalie, and so far more than 500 people have joined the group.

Mrs Murphy discovered she had breast cancer just one day before her first son Jackson was born.

The Mairangi Bay mother found a lump in her breast and had asked her midwife to check it.

She was told it was just "her milk coming in" but later she found she had breast cancer and would need a mastectomy. The cancer then spread to her liver and she had to put the mastectomy on hold and prepare for chemotherapy.

The former Birkenhead College student has been told she has two to five years to live.

"So many of us walk around in life treating days like we have buckets of them but that's not the case," says Mrs Murphy.

Hundreds of people have sent Mrs Murphy support through the Facebook page and she hopes she can help save one life through early detection of breast cancer and teach other midwives to encourage young mums to get checked if they suspect a lump.

"If I can save one or 20 lives out of this crap situation I will be happy," she says.

Mrs Murphy will be going in for her last session of chemotherapy in a couple of weeks and will later have a double mastectomy and then it "is just a matter of waiting to see how things go".

But for now Mrs Murphy is looking forward to the quiz night, her last treatment of chemotherapy and spending time with her family in Fiji on holiday.

"It brings tears to my eyes every time I think about Jackson and I try to appreciate every moment with him. Only a mother knows what I am going through," Mrs Murphy says.

The quiz night organised by Mrs West, Anna McBride, Kerryn Devine and Kirsty Hewitt will take place at Birkenhead Primary School on September 9.

They are still looking for a business to donate non-alcoholic drinks or supply decorations for the event.

There will be goods up for auction on the night including a weekend spa package and a ski vacation package.

Comedian Michelle A'Court will provide entertainment for the night.

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If you would like to help or would like to attend the quiz evening email Dee West at handinhandfornatalie@gmail.com. Tickets are $40.

Donations can be made to the Murphy family for her alternative treatment to Natalie F Murphy BNZ 02-0238-0116716-97.

- North Shore Times

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