Mikayla Archer is following in the footsteps of her 5-year-old sister by becoming a public figure for CanTeen's 2012 fundraising appeal.
Mikayla's sister, Emma Watson, was the face of the Child Cancer Foundation in 2011 after she was diagnosed with leukaemia at two years old.
Mikayla, 17, is the president of CanTeen Taranaki and the story of her involvement with the organisation will soon be shared around the country during its annual fundraiser from September 14 to 30.
The Sacred Heart Girls' College student said she was delighted to be able to share her story with New Zealand.
"It's great that the public will be able to read about how it has affected me, even though I haven't had to go through the sickness and pain that Emma has," she said.
"A lot of us kids in similar situations sometimes aren't noticed as much because of our siblings, and there being so much going on, so to get chosen makes me feel almost famous."
Mikayla is also the first person in Taranaki to have a design selected, over 500 others, to appear on CanTeen bandannas throughout the country.
She said the inspiration behind her bandanna design was simply to express how CanTeen made her feel.
"When I think about CanTeen, I think happy faces.
"It's the best thing to be involved with. I think it's the greatest achievement in my life so far, it's like having another family."
Mikayla's mum, Joanne Watson, said the journey cancer took people on really shaped them, which had become evident in Mikayla. "She has just become so much more confident.
"CanTeen is an amazing organisation. It doesn't just help you deal with cancer, it helps you in life," she said.
Mikayla said everything that had happened in the last few years had allowed her and Emma to form an incredibly strong bond, despite the 12-year age gap.
"I definitely look up to her, even though she's only five. We're best friends," she said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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