Sunday, 05 April 2020


Two-time breast cancer survivor to speak at Lionesses high tea

The Lioness Club of Mercury Bay will host their annual high tea fundraiser on Thursday 13 September at the Mercury Bay Bowling Club in Cook Drive. All profits will be going to the Mercury Bay Cancer Support Trust.

The guest speaker this year is Karin Horen, mother of three, driven businesswoman, two-time breast cancer survivor and founder of the charity Paddle for Hope.  

Whitianga-resident, Jill Bowker, is one of the four Lionesses responsible for organising the high tea. “I met Karen Horen through a friend and became friends with her on Facebook,” says Jill. “I’ve noticed on Facebook Karen was sharing her experiences through public speaking and asked her if she would like to come to Whitianga. She didn’t hesitate to accept the invitation.”

Karin Horen was only 26 years old and living in Tel Aviv, Israel when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. After extensive treatment and a partial mastectomy, she was determined to live her life to the fullest extent possible.

During the course of the next 14 years, Karin obtained a Masters degree in marketing in Australia, moved to New Zealand and had three daughters. When she was 40, she discovered her cancer had returned and that she was the carrier of a damaged BRCA1 gene.

BRCA1 and BRCA2 are genes that everyone carries. Their purpose is to suppress tumours. When these genes are damaged or mutated, they become less effective. Anyone with a damaged or mutated gene is more susceptible to breast and ovarian cancer.

Karin’s second breast cancer diagnosis led her to taking up stand-up paddle boarding. To her, the sport became very important. It was a great form of therapeutic exercise and was the beginning of Paddle For Hope. The charity is, among other things, dedicated to raising breast cancer awareness and raising money for women who need cancer rehabilitation.

Karin is at the moment recovering from breast reconstruction surgery known as a deep inferior epigastric perforators flap procedure, but that’s not slowing her down. Most recently she has teamed up with Natalia Bertolo, the founder and owner of Aurai Swimwear, to design a line of mastectomy-friendly swimwear that is scheduled to be launched at New Zealand Fashion Week in Auckland this week.  

One of Karin’s aims is to inspire women to feel great about themselves and to have more choices when it comes to what they wear after a mastectomy

Tickets for the Lioness High Tea are available from Mosaic Gallery in Albert Street, Whitianga at a cost $25 each. The event will begin at 1:30pm and all ticketholders are encouraged to wear pink. Tea and traditional high tea treats are included in the ticket price and several raffles will be able to be won.

In addition to Jill Bowker, Mercury Bay Lionesses Michelle McLuckie, Penny Murray and Wendy Bradshaw are making up the high tea organising committee. The other 40-odd Lioness Club of Mercury Bay members will all help with the preparations and to host the event.


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