Dear Boobs – a cancer survivors story

Emily Searle.

Breast cancer survivor Emily Searle will be sharing her experience with the disease at a presentation at the Rotorua Library.

As part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Emily will be sharing her story behind her Dear Boobs project at 6.30pm Thursday 24 October.

At just 37 years of age, Emily Searle was facing having a double mastectomy. 

This came after five months of gruelling chemotherapy – and all the associated side effects.

In order to get the emotions associated with this horrendous cancer ‘off her chest’ (pun intended), Emily wrote a letter:  “Dear Boobs…” which gave her comfort both writing it and reading it back.

"After 11 months my main treatment came to an end as I moved into what I call ‘the aftermath’ I felt compelled to offer something of value in return to the community that had helped me keep my head above water, and I also wanted to encourage and inspire those women who were just beginning this overwhelming passage, to create something I felt had been missing for me.”

Via social media, Emily invited others in a similar situation to also write their stories, in the form of letters to their boobs. 

The book resulting from this project is a compilation of some of those letters – written by mastectomy survivors – to their boobs.  

To say that the messages in the letters are very strong would be an understatement. 

Through this seemingly simple act, the writers are dealing with a whole range of emotions – from joy that the cancer has been dealt with right through to the insecurities that come from losing such a feminine part of the body. 

There are also the aspects of losing time with family while undergoing treatment, the importance of the breasts while nurturing babies and what the future holds for them.

Dear Boobs was, for Emily, a way of dealing with her condition while also giving back to the community. 

She has made considerable progress in achieving her aim of donating 1000 copies of the Dear Boobs book to waiting rooms, libraries and cancer organisations throughout the country. 

She is also fundraising to send 100 books overseas. 

The $5 tickets to this event are available via the library website www.rotorualibrary.govt.nz and all proceeds will be donated to Emily’s Dear Boobs project.


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