Vivo are proud to be ongoing supporters of Sweet Louise, offering free hair and beauty services to nominated members. This October, during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we will be sharing some of their heartbreaking, inspiring, and beautiful stories with you.
EVI VAN DER WEGEN'S STORY
Evi Van Der Wegen doesn’t do life by halves. She has come in to have her hair blow dried by Katie Owen, Salon Manager at Vivo Pakuranga, before jetting off to Hong Kong that evening. For a holiday, perhaps? No. Instead, Evi is taking the 11 hour flight to take an examination for a midwifery job that will allow her to work in the bustling little country. “I always wanted to be a midwife,” she says. So when she moved to New Zealand in 2004, on the push from a friend, she got qualified.
And it’s not like Evi has taken the easy route with her job - she works with high risk pregnancies in South Auckland, helping babies in vulnerable situations come into the world the best way they can. Her eyes light up when asked what she enjoys most about such a demanding role. “I like working with the parents and empowering them to become the best mums and dads they can be”, Evi says. It’s clear that Evi lives with passion, which has only increased since her cancer diagnosis.
“If anything, having this diagnosis has just made me more invested into the ‘you only live once’ lifestyle. I just accept it as it is, I don’t think of it as a big part of my life.”
Finding out you have cancer is never easy, but for Evi, there have been extra twists and turns in the road that have meant the path has been a bumpy one. Upon finding out she had breast cancer in 2015, the initial round of chemo triggered a pre-existing condition that left her incredibly unwell for the next 5-6 weeks, and also meant she couldn’t continue the cancer-fighting treatment. Then, while in Cuba for her 50th birthday, she thought she had injured her knee. However, three months later and lots of failed physio, a referral to have imaging done on the site revealed secondary cancer in the form of a legion “I feel very well though”, Evi insists. “If anything, having this diagnosis has just made me more invested into the ‘you only live once’ lifestyle. I just accept it as it is, I don’t think of it as a big part of my life.”
So this evening, after the Dutch Native leaves the Vivo Pakuranga Salon, she will be heading off to add to her growing list of wunderlust destinations - South America, India, Europe and New Zealand just a few of the places she has visited. A new adventure now awaits in Hong Kong, bringing new life into the world as a midwife, and continuing to pack as much excitement into each day as it can hold.
Content by Tereze Taber
ABOUT SWEET LOUISE
In 2005, Scott Perkins established Sweet Louise, named after his late-wife who had died from incurable breast cancer. Today, Sweet Louise supports hundreds of women across New Zealand who are living with metastatic breast cancer, to help them feel supported and cared for in their journey.