Raising funds through fashion: NZBCF tries to outnumber breast cancer with clever t-shirt campaign

Scarcity is a powerful motivator, as anyone looking for a fancy chocolate milk in the past few months could probably attest, and the New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation, with the help of Previously Unavailable and DDMMYY, is trying to tap into that by selling 1000 different t-shirts that are numbered one to 1,000 and cost the dollar value of their individual numbers. 

The campaign aims to raise funds (purchase yours—and see how many t-shirts have already been sold—here) to create a new, tailored counselling service for breast cancer sufferers and the impetus behind the name comes from the alarming numbers that show “by the end of summer, 1,000 New Zealand women will be diagnosed with breast cancer – an average of eight women diagnosed every day”.

Each shirt printed is unique in its design using a bespoke front originally designed for Wallpaper* magazine and donated by New York based company, Commercial Type. The foundation says the unique designs are symbolic of the individual and personal journey each woman goes through.

The foundation aims to raise $500,000 to go towards the free counselling programme, which will be offered first to the 1,000 women who will be diagnosed with the cancer this summer.

The programme will complement the foundation’s current support framework which includes the funding of one-on-one and group physical rehabilitation services, practical support services for women with advanced breast cancer, online and printed materials and a free breast care nurse advice line, as well as assisting breast cancer support groups around the country.

However, breast cancer survivor and official ambassador of the campaign Rebecca Wadey says the most important aspect of the service will be the level of personalisation the service will offer to individual sufferers.

“Providing personalised support is overwhelmingly important. The 1,000 women diagnosed this summer will be at different stages in their lives, and will want support in different ways.”

Wadey says counselling has been shown to significantly improve prospects for women going through treatment, with a meta-analysis in the United States showing mortality rates were as much as 39 percent higher in patients who had been diagnosed with major depression.

“Knowing you don’t have to go it alone can make a real difference in the journey that these women go through.”

New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation’s chief executive officer Evangelia Henderson says the shirts will raise awareness of breast cancer and act as a symbol of support by the wearer.

“Each tee is a tribute to one of the 1,000 women diagnosed with breast cancer this summer, a sign that those women are receiving the support they need, and a symbol of the generosity of the wearer.”

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