Here are our most frequently asked questions. If you think there’s something that needs to be added, please let let us know by sending an email to members@sweetlouise.co.nz. Or call us on 0800 11 22 77.

Incurable breast cancer is breast cancer that has spread from the breast to other parts of your body. Cancer cells can break away from the original tumor in the breast and travel to other parts of the body through the bloodstream or the lymphatic system. Incurable breast cancer may also be known as secondary, metastatic, advanced or Stage Four breast cancer. Treatment for incurable breast cancer is lifelong and focuses on control of the disease, management of symptoms and quality of life.

Sweet Louise is the only charity in New Zealand that solely focuses on improving the quality of life for hundreds of women and men living with incurable breast cancer. We offer information, advice, support and access to a range of practical and therapeutic services free of charge. Sweet Louise currently supports almost 600 members around the country.

If you have been diagnosed with: incurable / secondary / metastatic / advanced breast cancer and you live in New Zealand, you can become a Sweet Louise member (membership is free).

You can register yourself in one of the following ways:

Once we have received your referral we will contact your specialist or health provider to confirm your diagnosis of incurable breast cancer. Your health provider can also refer you to Sweet Louise with your permission.

Go to our contact page for our contact details.

Currently Sweet Louise provides services in the North Island and is expanding its services into the South Island.

Services available throughout New Zealand

  • Support Coordinators To support members and their families
  • Vouchers for members$500 per year to spend with registered Sweet Louise Service Providers
  • Newsletter Members will receive a monthly newsletter with news on what is happening with Sweet Louise around New Zealand.
  • Family Initiative – If members have dependent children or grandchildren under the age of 18 years old, they can talk to their Support Coordinator to find out about our family initiative scheme (sponsored by Sovereign NZ).

Services available in the North Island, Canterbury, Nelson & Marlborough (coming to the rest of the South Island in the future)

  • Member Meetings An opportunity for members to connect with other members.

All our Support Coordinators have health professional backgrounds with experience in cancer care. Our Support Coordinators can support you by helping you navigate your treatment and care pathways and can refer you to appropriate support people and organisations you may want to use. Your Support Coordinator will contact you when you first register. Then, with your agreement, she will contact you every three months to catch up on how you are.

A Sweet Louise Support Coordinator or a Volunteer currently host member meetings around the North Island and Canterbury (coming soon to Nelson & Marlborough). Member meetings are an opportunity to get together and share similar experiences and support each other. Coffee / tea, cake and meeting some amazing people are all part of the experience.

Member meeting times/ dates/ locations can be found on our event calendar.

Information on Member Meetings is also available in our monthly newsletter sent to members.

Sweet Louise rely on a small number of volunteers who use their own cars to drive members to member meetings. This is a limited service only available in a few areas. Members should contact their Support Coordinators to ask if this service is available in their area. Also please remember:

  • We only provide this service to members who have no other means of getting to member meetings.
  • Volunteer drivers need plenty of notice so please give at least one to two week’s notice if you need transport to a member meeting.
  • Sweet Louise only provides transport (when available) to Sweet Louise member meetings. We do not provide volunteer transport for clinic, hospital or treatment appointments.

Each member is given $500 of vouchers per year to spend with Service Providers registered with Sweet Louise. See our Service Provider page for details.

Voucher Information

  • Members will receive $500 worth of vouchers every 12 months. You will be sent your new vouchers once your old ones have expired.
  • You will receive a directory of Service Providers with your vouchers. This will give you information on where you can spend your vouchers.
  • Your vouchers have an expiry date on them. Please make sure you use your vouchers before their expiry date.
  • If you order any service or product either on the phone or on the internet please put a pen line through the voucher you use, to ensure you do not use it again. Sweet Louise does not redeem the value of vouchers used twice and you may be asked to pay for the service by the service provider if this occurs.
  • Vouchers come in $5, $10, and $20 values. Service providers will not give you change so please ensure you pay with the correct combination of vouchers.
  • If you mislay or lose your vouchers contact your Support Coordinator. Each of your vouchers has a code number that is activated under your name when the voucher is used. The numbers can be cancelled through your Coordinator and               re-organised.

Members can also donate their vouchers for other members to use.

Please see our Service Provider page for contact details and locations of local and national Sweet Louise Service Providers. Members receive a directory of  service providers when they are given their vouchers.

Children – We have put together the below information and we recommend contacting the organisations included in the link for further support for children and young adults:

Talking with Children about a Parent’s Illness

Partners – We have a few library books that you can borrow for free (ask your Support Coordinator about this.)

Men’s Group (Auckland) Sweet Louise helps support a Men’s Group facilitated by male staff from Dove House and Mercy Hospice. It is run for men with partners who have cancer and for men with cancer. The meetings are held in Dove House every three months. Dates and times are printed in the Sweet Louise monthly member newsletter.

Advance care planning gives everyone a chance to say what’s important to them. It helps people understand what the future might hold and to say what treatment they would and would not want. It helps people, their families and their healthcare teams plan for future and end of life care.
For more information or resources see http:// www.advancecareplanning.org.nz