Monday, October 8, 2007

Our Target is Reached!!!!!!

This campaign started in July with no real expectations about where it might lead but last Thursday we reached the $93K target. The gratitude Maara and I feel is indescribable. The love and support shown to us has bubbled over countless times often resulting in the challenges of breast cancer being swamped in the deluge.

There are so many, many acknowledgments to be made but it would be a mammoth task to post them all on this blog. I hope you will forgive me for rolling you into a blanket message of thanks. All of you have opened your hearts to us and put some of your own personal plans and challenges aside to help Maara and me. Fa’afetai tele lava for doing that and may God bless each one of you richly.

I cannot go by without saying something about a couple of people. I am mindful that there have been other people who have been involved in a significant way but I’m confident they support me in a special acknowledgement of these two individuals. Firstly, there’s the Cake Maker and her family. It was her determination to help Maara and me that saw her start the blog and relentlessly drive the fundraising to its successful end. She and her family have made some huge personal sacrifices to ensure this fundraising achieves its objective. Thank you Cake Maker, we believe that through your friendship and support, the odds of us beating this disease have increased tenfold. You have given so much and yet asked for nothing in return. We are eternally grateful and indebted to you and your family!!!!
Secondly, there is Bill Mathews who has poured energy and resources into this campaign as if Maara was his own daughter. He energised people into action so that the campaign got a healthy boost. Thank you very, very much Bill.

What a true blessing it is to have people like the Cake Maker and Bill in your corner when you’re fighting an opponent like cancer.

From here Maara and I continue the treatment programme which should be completed by June /July 2008. Please uphold us in your thoughts and prayers. We have a faithful God who has deliberately moved people in our path to lead us through this ordeal. God has moulded our spirits over time so that we can deal with this situation with strength and hope.

Thanks again to all of you.

Love always

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Trade Me Auctions Happening NOW!!!!!

This link will take you to our auction list.

Up for grabs....

Signed All Blacks Jersey 2007
Signed All Blacks Ball 2007
Signed Netball Irene van Dyk
Exclusive Peter Gordon Dinner
Philips 32” Widescreen LCD TV
Panasonic SC-PM3 micro CD stereo system

We will be adding more items so keep checking in!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

We are nearly there!!!!!!!!!!!!

What a tremendous humbling experience it has been being at the receiving end of so much love, support and generosity. You have all made such an incredible difference to our situation. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Maara is bearing up well under the circumstances. Last week she had her first course of ramped up chemo which has had a big impact on her physically. Her spirits remain high so that's a very cool thing.

In the past few months we have gratefully received a host of kind gift donations from many people. These range from autographed sports balls, an autographed All Black jersey, airfares, a fine dining package, Waitomo experiences etc.... You name it we've probably got it.

As a final part of the campaign we will use Trade Me to auction these items. The Cake Maker has already begun working on this part of things. (see attached link) I'm more than confident this will push us beyond the target figure and with any surplus hopefully we can use that money to provide a better opportunity for someone else who needs Herceptin.

We will keep you updated on the progress so keep checking back here. Once again remember us in your thoughts and prayers. Thank you.

Alofa tele

Signed All Blacks Jersey 2007 -

Signed All Blacks Ball 2007 -

Signed Netball Irene van Dyk -

Exclusive Dinner by Peter Gordon!!!! -

Thursday, August 23, 2007

GO Maara Lunch & Auction - Result

“We are the champions my friends
And we'll keep on fighting till the end
We are the champions, we are the champions
No time for losers
Cause we are the champions of the world”

I’m not the biggest Queen fan but in my view this excerpt from one of their songs captures the resolve to fight cancer that was rife at the GO Maara lunch on Sunday. Maara was given a clear message by her friends, old and new, that she would not be fronting the cancer battle alone. This was great comfort to her and of course the kids and me.

Many people who could not make the event represented their support through providing auction items, bids, money and heartfelt messages of encouragement. Thank you to absent friends.

In his unique way, Bill Mathews conducted a full afternoon program of laughter and entertainment that set the scene for what turned out to be a memorable occasion. Watching Bill masterfully work the audience spoke volumes to me about his ability to build a successful company like GO and out of that, create a team of people who now enjoy valuable friendships with each other.

Wine flowed, delectable food was neatly consumed and catch up conversations were abuzz all over the restaurant. We rocked to the sounds of Freddie Mercury impersonator Steve and delighted in watching people squirm as he invaded their “space”. Thank you Ramona McCambridge for returning the microphone to Freddie so that he could continue his act.

Big thanks to Mike Geary who assembled a very impressive register of auction items. Obviously Mike’s “Tony Soprano” influencing strategies worked a treat with suppliers. This list was further enhanced by offers from Thanee Chatsinchai, Lynley Mitchell, Emma Haworth and Sarah Hunter. Sorry team you probably didn’t want your names mentioned but at the end of the day, I know people, who know people who run this blog, so…too bad!

Bill and Mike did a fabulous job finding new homes for all the auction packages. Would you buy a used car from these individuals? Perhaps that’s a note to self. Anyway, they made sure it was a win / win situation for all parties.

Thank you. Last but not least Noelann Davies drove a robust campaign to organize and sell tickets for the beauty basket raffle. How appropriate that the raffle was won by the Cake Maker. We could not have scripted a better result. Noelann raised $1000 from the raffle alone. Fantastic!

As for how much was raised in total… may find this hard to believe because Maara and I found it hard to believe…….. $15,000. This was well above expectation and has pushed us so close to the finishing line. JUST TOO INCREDIBLE for words.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

GO Maara Auction Sunday 19 August 2007

Bidding is open to everyone!
Let your friends and family know they are welcome to bid.
Perfect for a gift to your parents, family members or friends.
Start bidding now!!

If you’re not attending the luncheon but would like to bid for any of these packages you are invited to email your bid and contact details to no later than 1.00pm on Sunday 19/08/07.

At the conclusion of the auction Bill or Junior will contact you as soon as possible to let you know if your bid has been successful.

All the proceeds will be donated to Maara’s Herceptin Fund.

We hope to add other items to this list in the next few days. Please keep watching.

Thank you for your support.

1) The Rarotongan Beach Resort & Spa- 5 nights share twin / double accommodation in a Beachfront Suite, inclusive of daily tropical breakfast, one exotic Black Pearl,a half hour 'His ' and 'Hers ' massage , a 'His & Hers ' pareau and a chilled bottle of Trinty Hill white wine... valid 01 Sept - 15 Dec 07 and 08 Jan - 31 May 08.. Valued at $2399 NZD

2 ) Blue Lagoon Cruise - a 3 day / 2 night Club Cruise ( share twin / double ) inclusive of all meals .. valid 01 Oct 07 - 30 Jun 08.. Valued at $2200 NZD

3) Mana Island Resort - 3 nights share twin / double accommodation inclusive of daily breakfast. Valid 01 Nov 07 - 20 Dec 08 (excludes school holidays). Valued at $1100 NZD

4) Le Lagon Resort Vanuatu - 4 nights share twin / double accommodation including daily breakfast, return airport transfers, a Port Vila Tour, Glass Bottom Boat Tour & Snorkel Safari. Valid 01 Oct - 15 Dec 07 and 15 Jan - 31 Mar 08. Valued at $1350 NZD

5) Breakas Beach Club Vanuatu - 4 nights share twin / double accommodation. Valid15 Oct - 15 Dec 07 and 15 Jan - 31 Mar 08. Valued at $1199

6) Aggie Grey's Beach Lagoon Resort & Spa - 5 nights inclusive of daily full breakfast. Valid 15 Oct - 15 Dec 07 and 15 Jan - 31 Mar 08. Valued at $1699

7) Captain Cook Cruises - 3 day / 2 night Sailing Safari inclusive of all meals. Valid 01 Oct 07 - 30 Jun 08. Valued at $1070 NZD

8) Sonaisali Island Resort - 5 nights share twin / double accommodation in a beachfront hotel room inclusive of daily American buffet breakfast. Valid 01 Nov - 23 Dec 07 and 11 Jan - 30 Jun 08 (excluding Easter & School Holidays). Valued at $1799

9) Golf Terraces,Fiji - 5 nights share twin / double accommodation in a 1 bedroom apartment .. Valid 01 Oct - 24 Dec 07 and 20 Jan - 31 May 08. Valued at $1499

10) Thanee’s Thai Dinner – Thanee Chatsinchai is opening his house and kitchen to cook an authentic 3 course Thai dinner for 6 people. He’s a superb cook and a fabulous host. You will have a truly wonderful dinner experience.

11) Fafa Island Resort, TONGA - 5 nights share twin / double accommodation ( superior fale ) ..Valued at $1569 Valid for travel commenced & completed 01 Oct 07 - 31 Mar 08.

12) Coconuts Beach Club ( SAMOA ) - 5 nights share twin / double accommodation in a Garden suite or Treehouse Room ..valid 01 Oct 07 - 31 Mar 08..Valued at $ 1459

13) A brand new, still in the packet, Nokia 8800 Sirocco Edition mobile phone. A slick looking piece of technology with all the features To take a good look at this phone check out the link,8764,96422,00.html
RRP $1799.

14) Take a scenic flight in a De Havilland Chipmunk (seats 1) or a Piper Cherokee (seats 3) for approx 20 -30 minutes. If you choose the Piper Cherokee, two of your friends or family can share the experience with you. Flights depart from Tauranga Airport for spectacular views over the Bay or from Ardmore for a panoramic view of Auckland, your choice. Travel costs to either airport is not included as part of this package. Please note the pilot will need at least 24 hours notice if the winner intends to invite two passengers for the Piper Cherokee option.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

GO Maara Lunch Raffle

GO Maara Lunch Raffle
A fabulous basket of ladies cosmetics and beauty products valued at over $1000 will be raffled at the lunch.

Tickets cost $5 each or buy three for $10.
Purchase a tickets by emailing or buy one at the luncheon.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Happy Birthday Maara - & IMPORTANT news

It’s Friday 10 August 2007and Maara turns 42 years old.

Today she underwent her second course of the Government funded chemotherapy plus Herceptin combo. Despite the four hour stay at the Oncology Ward, the day went okay. I know Maara feels great that she’s two steps closer to the end of the treatment programme but it also means that they’re moving closer to the private funded Herceptin courses. They are due one more Government funded Herceptin course ..... and this is where I want to explain about the new financial target that Junior & Maara face.

Throughout the initial diagnosis, operation and treatment both the specialist and the oncologists talked about the cost of the year long Herceptin treatment. Estimates were given at the time of between $65,000 - $75,000. Last week the oncologist sent through the final quote for the 15 non-funded treatments (she needs 18 treatments in total only 3 are funded by the government). What wasn’t made clear at the time was the “extra” costs of having this treatment performed privately. Maara will have to go every three weeks to have the Herceptin administered and here is a breakdown of what the costs are....

Herceptin (15 cycles)
Cycles repeated at 3 week intervals for 1 year
15 cycles remaining to complete 1 year of treatment

Cost for cycles 4 - 18
Consultation $ 120.00
Herceptin $ 4830.25
Herceptin administration $600.00
GST $ 693.78 (This is a goods & services tax paid to the government)
Total $ 6244.03 (this is paid every three weeks for 1 year)

Total cost (to complete 1 year of treatment) $93,660.45
NB: These costs do not include any additional radiological or other investigations.

The stress this financial pressure places on families already hit with the traumatic news that a loved one has a life threatening cancer, is unfathomable. For those of you who know me you will appreciate the battle I went through to convince them to allow me to create this blog. This should give you some idea of my challenge to share this latest news with the world.

Junior & Maara are very proud people. To have their private lives exposed to the world and then step back to let people help isn’t exactly a natural thing for them to do!! I get that. For me to be able to take the financial pressure off an already incredibly stressful situation, is a practical and very tangible way that I could help. I truly believe that if Maara can concentrate on her treatment and getting well without the added worry of what needs to be either sold or borrowed to fund her treatment... that would help in her fight against this terrible disease. As for Junior I still have to endure his (sometimes daily) bouts of “uncomfortableness” about letting people help him. They have both been able to draw a huge amount of strength from the outpouring of love & support .

So I bring news that the goalposts have moved and my new target to be reached is $93,000. $93k is a huge number but fundraising so far has put us in a great position.

From here we intend to continue the campaign. It means revisiting some of the events we sidelined previously and continuing those we have already planned. We’re confident we will reach or come very close to the new figure.

Before I go Maara is sporting a new hairdo, she looks wonderful. Junior and the family love her new look and think that she looks absolutely fabulous.

That’s it for now but thank you to everyone for your ongoing support. If you would like any further info or have ideas on fundraising please email me at

The Cake Maker

Thursday, August 9, 2007

GO Maara Lunch and Party Fundraiser

On a cold, smoky August afternoon in chic Ponsonby the incandescent orange flame of Troy Restaurant’s sentinel pierces the winter haze. Signalling the start of the GO Maara Lunch Fundraiser.

The irresistible odours of Middle Eastern cuisine patiently wait to creep down the steep stairs of Troy to invisibly but warmly greet the arrival of GO Staff past and present.

Your host Bill Mathews waits to guide you through an afternoon filled with fun and entertainment. “Freddie” Mercury will be on hand to remind you why you still listen to Queen cds and risk body parts to squeeze into those tight fitting outfits. Of course no afternoon is complete at Troy without the rhythmic belly dancer mesmerizing the crowd before callously choosing her “dancing” prey from the uncoordinated, unsuspecting males present.

Let’s not forget, that with a loud chorus of encouragement we can expect Bill to perform his show-stopping, remixed, digitally re-mastered and slightly slurred “Wolverton Mountain” rendition. That’s always such a special moment.

We look forward to seeing you there. It will be a fabulous party and a wonderful show of support for Maara and her family.

Our target is still $5,000 and we are confident it will be reached but need your support to achieve this.

“I wont be a rock star. I will be a legend”- Freddie Mercury (the real one)

WHEN: Sunday 19 August 2007, 2pm – 8pm

WHERE: Troy Restaurant (upstairs)161 Ponsonby Road, Ponsonby

COST: $95pp
(Payment on the day by cash / credit card OR cheque payable to Troy Restaurant)

Includes a 3-course lunch, live music and the usual embarrassing feature items.

BYO Wine, cash bar

Email bookings to with a contact phone number or;
For further enquiries please phone Bill on 021 459 560.

Have a look at the names of people who have told us they are coming. We will keep this list updated.

Bridget GRACE
Christine PARKER
Gwynyth CARR
Kathryn O'DWYER
Lancette HERON
Marina NOLA
Merrill HOLST
Nikolette TOTH
Noelann DAVIES
Patrick BONAR
Rozelle WILSON
Samantha FOWLER
Stephen DAVIES
Suzanne RAMM

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Maara’s Movie Fundraiser - LAST CALL FOR TICKETS!!!!!! There are only a handful of tickets left.... don't miss out!!!

Tomorrow is your last chance to purchase (and pick-up) tickets.

Come along enjoy the movie & SUPPORT MAARA'S HERCEPTIN FUND :o)

As part of the fundraising effort, Maara’s team of supporters have organised a special screening of the blockbuster movie “The Bourne Ultimatum” (R16) at the SKYCITY Theatre, to be held on Thursday 9 August 2007. Admission is $20pp.

This screening is extra special because it’s not due for public release until late August and all the proceeds from the ticket sales will go directly to help fund the Herceptin treatment for Maara.

It will be an enjoyable evening starting with nibbles and a cash bar at 6.15 pm with the movie screening at 7 pm sharp.

A word of caution, at the movie if you find that your seat is lumpy and a bit uncomfortable there is a strong chance you just sat on the goodie bag we left on your seat. Of course a lumpy and uncomfortable seat followed by a scream means that seat is already occupied.

If you are interested in attending the movie evening here’s all the important details you need to know;

The Bourne Ultimatum (R16)

SKYCITY Theatre on Thursday 9 August 2007

Nibbles and a cash bar will be available from 6.15 pm. The movie starts at 7 pm sharp.

Admission $20 (includes a bag of goodies to chew on during the movie)

All proceeds from the ticket sales will go to Maara’s Herceptin Treatment.

Limited tickets are available. CASH ONLY please.

To purchase tickets please contact Katie Heenan

Monday, July 30, 2007

Hollywood News...... and the power of the internet!

You’ll be pleased to know that Lindsay, Paris or Britney don’t feature anywhere else in this news item. There’s also no gossip about who is doing stuff they’re shouldn’t be doing in Hollywood and definitely no references to NZ Hollywood i.e. Shortland Street.

Instead this story focuses on a far more important and unheralded side of the celebrity world.

Many of you may not recognise the name George Gaynes but if you’ve watched Police Academy (where he played the role of Commissioner Lassard ) , Tootsie, The Way we Were, Nickelodeon, Just Married and a host of other television and movie appearances then you will have met him.

A fortnight ago Mr Gaynes learnt about our humble fundraising blog. He was moved by Maara’s story so he sent $300 to help.

If you Google, George Gaynes, it will tell you everything about his achievements but it wont tell you that he has helped a complete stranger named Maara Toleafoa and her family.

I sent a message of thanks to him not really expecting a reply. This morning I opened my email to find that he had graciously responded by saying,

“Dear Junior, the contribution we made is only a drop in the bucket, and you are welcome to it. I hope your drive is successful, and that there will be hundreds of drops. My best wishes to Maara and to you. Yours truly, George.”

Thank you George. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Cake Raffle Winner....

The winner of the second cake raffle is....

P.Heath from Grey Lynn

Thank you to everyone who supported the raffle :o)

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Junior's Journal 28/07/07

Here’s the latest offering of news from the past week.

Maara has been doing surprisingly well after the first round of chemo. They say the first one is the least intrusive and so far that has been the case. The next session happens on the 10 August (Maara’s birthday) and I guess that’s when things will potentially be different.

As you can see, her new look hairstyle accentuates her beauty and I think she’s enjoying the attention. On the other hand, I have noted that hits on the blog have dramatically increased since my picture was removed. I’m sure there is no correlation.

This week we saw the Police dog handlers bare their craniums and raise a truckload of sponsorship. A fantastic effort by Chris Harris and his team.

A family friend of many years blew us away with an extremely generous $5000 contribution. We have been unable to contact him since last weekend and ask his permission to publicly thank him, his wife and family via the blog. Perhaps he will let us name him later.

Colleagues in the Cashiering Department at my work raised $2000 through cake stalls. Some of those people I very rarely see because of their shiftwork hours. I’m so grateful to all of them for supporting Maara and me.

Tickets went on sale for the movie night and they are being snapped up. Thank you to everyone supporting that fundraiser.

We have an interesting story about a Rangiora -style raffle organised by my wonderful friend Claudine and her family. Everything about this raffle seems relatively normal until you get to the part about Claudine managing to sell tickets to willing buyers long before she or they knew any details about the prize. Even now I’m trying to imagine how the conversations sounded in those first few transactions. Hmmm…I remain puzzled. Anyway, they managed to raise a much appreciated $500. The lucky winner walked away with a very complete wine and dinner package. Superb support from friends in Rangiora !!! Thank you very much!!!

In between all the above events there has been an enormous amount of love and support relentlessly being channelled our way. There’s a huge amount of thank you notes and words to be passed on and I aim to see that those are completed.

In the meantime, please know that Maara, Lahaina, Stuey and I are feeling very humbled and blessed by all of the support. Thank you.

Alofa tele


Sunday, July 22, 2007

Auckland Police Dog Section shaves a hefty amount off the target!!!!

Sunday 22 July 2007 and it’s a wintry but sunny afternoon at the Auckland Police Dog Section base. About 16 Police Officers from the Auckland Police Dog Section plus one brave six year old, Jakob Harris, decided to ignore the winter chills and shave their heads to raise money for Maara.

For the past few weeks the team have been drumming up sponsorship through family and friends all in the name of Maara’s herceptin treatment. Jakob managed to raise $250. That’s a fabulous effort!!!

Interestingly, after learning a little bit about chemotherapy and its side effects, Jakob was even more motivated to shave his head because by doing so it would show Maara that she didn’t need to be afraid. Bless him!!

As the first pair of clippers powered up, eager volunteers raced to surrender their hair, wanting the experience to be over quickly. A crowd of onlookers cheered the volunteers on with laughter and healthy heckling. Everyone enjoying the scary yet funny transformations unfold. Even though there was a suggestion that for some the change was not so big. (No names of course…Temps, Pikey, Tony and Clint).

The afternoon continued with a BBQ and the standard “few quiet ales” before Senior Constable Chris Harris called the group to order and announced that the total amount raised was an amazing $5,780!

Initially, when Chris organised the event he thought maybe $600 was a realistic target. He had no idea it would far exceed that amount.

Thank you to everyone who participated in this fundraiser, especially those who gave up their hair for the cause. Special thanks to Sean from Highway Stabilisers who donated $1,000 and personally took Billy’s sponsorship form around to the Highway Stabiliser employees.

Maara was not present at the event but is aware of the unbelievable amount raised. She is extremely grateful and would like to thank everyone who sacrificed their hair, time, money and baking to help out.

Well done Chris and the Auckland Police Dog Section!!!!!

To view pictures of the day go to

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Friday, July 20, 2007

A Significant Day for Maara & Junior

Chemotherapy & Herceptin starts today....

Wow!!! From a standing start to almost $29,000 in 28 days. What incredible generosity people have shown Maara and me.

Yesterday I sent an email to colleague expressing my deep appreciation for a fundraising initiative that he and his team had organised in their office. They all wore mufti to work last Friday and for the privilege they donated money towards Maara’s herceptin treatment.

A few weeks ago Bill and Jo, donated $5000 to help with the fundraising. They have both known Maara for over 20 years and desperately wanted to do something to help. Bill keeps in contact with Maara almost on a daily basis to make sure she is okay and to talk about fundraising. Amazing!!!

Viv and Jane have treated us to some great lasagne in those times when some of our everyday fundamentals, like cooking, fell away. This is such a great demonstration of the thoughtfulness we have been exposed to by people.

Members of our church visited us last week armed with wonderful prayers and some of our favourite praise and worship songs. They overstocked our pantry with groceries and quietly handed over an envelope of money. We shared some laughs, discussed my poor attendance and as humbly as they had arrived, they blessed us and said goodbye.

The Cake Maker will be swimming in icing for the next twelve months because news of her fabulous masterpieces has spread faster than a decent rumour. For all, the work that will go into creating the cakes , the Cake Maker reminds me that it amounts to “nought” when you consider what Maara and others with cancer have to endure.

Help has come to us in so many different ways since the blog was published. People have not held back with their generosity. I recall telling someone recently that I feel so undeserving of the kindness and attention that has been shown. Maara and I are not Victoria Cross winners nor are we Nobel Prize recipients and we certainly don’t have a clue about solutions for achieving world peace. Yet friends, family and complete strangers have continued to support us. For me the greatest gift out of this whole experience is the knowledge that people appreciate and value Maara and me. That’s priceless.

Friday 20 July 2007 is a significant day for Maara because she begins chemotherapy at Auckland City Hospital. We are excited because we know chemotherapy is a great weapon against a formidable foe. There’s also apprehension because chemotherapy is like weeding a beautiful flower garden with a bulldozer. As I write this, Maara is busy reading Lance Armstrong’s book about his experience with cancer. I think she will find his story uplifting and that’s not a bad way to be on the eve of your first chemotherapy treatment.

Finally, thanks again everyone for the kind thoughts, prayers and monetary gifts. I will do my best to report back about Maara’s progress.

Tofa soifua,

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Auckland Police Dog Section's "Shave Off"

This is six year old Jakob. When he learnt that his Dad was involved in a fundraising "Shave off" he volunteered to shave off his own beautiful head of hair.

Since then he has signed up about 8 sponsors all who have pledged $10 each. His target is 10 in total so he's still working away.

Speak to Jakob and he will tell you in his own uncompromising way " I'm shaving my hair "bold" (he means bald) not just short. I want to help Maara"

In two weeks time expect to see a different looking Jakob appearing on a blog near you. What a fantastic contribution from such a sweet boy!!!
(if you would like to become a sponsor for Jakob please email

Jakob will join a team of volunteers from the Auckland Police Dog Section who will be shaving their heads on Sunday 22nd July to raise funds for Maara.

Thanks guys!!!!!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Just Amazing!!!!!

I have the job of updating the blog everyday. How fabulous it was today to be able to post the new figure of $15,728!!!! What an achievement after only four short days. The support arriving locally and from around the world is phenomenal!

If we continue at this rate we will reach our target well within in our predicted timeframe and Maara’s Herceptin treatment will be a reality!!

I’m hearing that an assortment of fundraising initiatives are happening in companies, departments, groups, families. People who have been touched by Maara’s story and are rallying to help. Many of these people have had their own lives touched in some way by the Toleafoa Family and this is their way of showing gratitude.

It would be great for all of us to hear about what you or your groups are doing to support Maara. So please feel free to forward any stories to me for publishing on the blog.

The Cake Maker

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

An Update from JT & Maara

Three days ago we started this blog in the hope that it would motivate people to support Maara. It has been achieving that goal at an incredibly rapid pace. The news is spreading faster than we had ever anticipated. As a consequence, on an hourly basis we are going through the full range of emotional experiences. All of this is leaving us wondering how we will ever adequately repay the kindness we have been shown.

People from all over the world are responding to our need. Some of these people have no idea who we are, yet, they have been moved to help us through this. A woman in America who has admired Kathryn’s cakes through various forums has purchased a load of raffle tickets. She’s very determined to acquire a Kathryn cake. That is so cool. Lorraine McKay a celebrated cake maker from Scotland has pledged her support for our campaign. Lorraine was introduced to us by Kathryn sometime ago. We have never personally met her but through the internet we have enjoyed learning how to laugh about things. Now she has come to support us in a challenging time. How neat!

Work colleagues past and present are learning the news about Maara and hastily offering their support. That support is arriving in all shapes and sizes, kind thoughts, advice, ideas, prayers, offers of childcare, home cooking, humour , fundraising events, you name it we have received it.

We want to thank you all personally because that is important to us but logistically it will take time. We hope to get around to that at some point.
How wonderful it is, that this heartfelt generosity is alive and well despite this being a time when world security is under threat and the news of the day is dominated by catastrophes.
That’s it for now. Rest assured that behind the scenes there is so much good stuff happening.

We will keep you updated about everything.

Thanks so much,
Maara and Junior T

Cafe Free Friday - 6th July

I challenge all you 'caffeine loving cafe goers' to forgo your visit this Friday the 6th of July and donate $5 to "Maara's Herceptin fund"..... register here (by leaving your name and pledge in the comments box) and be in to win a chocolate cake from the "Cake Maker".

If we all give a little it will soon add up to a LOT!!!!!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Bryce Takes The Cake!

I arrived at work today with a Chocolate Mud cake in one hand and a book of raffle tickets in the other. The prize was a designer cake of the winners choice and the tickets were $5 each. Emails were sent around work with the blog link and the info about the raffle... with the added incentive for the person who bought the most tickets getting to take the chocolate mud cake home.

Sifa Taumoepeau thought he had the cake in the bag with his (generous) purchase of 10 tickets until he was pipped at the post by Bryce Morrin who doubled the amount with a whopping 20 tickets!!!! Way to go Bryce.

There are only a few tickets left in this particular draw.... we will announce the winner in the next day or so. Thank you to all the wonderful staff at SKYCITY who have contributed to Maara's Herceptin Fund ... From the Cake Maker :)

A Message from Junior & Maara Toleafoa

A few weeks ago Maara and I were focussing on a new career move for her. It was a big deal because it involved leaving a job of 20 years to start afresh with a newly formed travel agency.

As this was happening a friend of friend, Tracey, was taking advantage of a free mammogram. This was something Maara knew she should also do but for now it carried about as much importance as a warrant of fitness for your car. Within days we learnt Tracey’s mammogram results had detected a cancer and immediate surgery was required. Although we were not close friends of Tracey’s at that time, we felt our hearts go out to her. We knew the situation was serious for Tracey and her family. Suddenly the necessity for a mammogram assumed its rightful place of importance in our lives. Maara made the appointment and from here breast cancer formally became part of us. Our weeks of toil over her new job opportunity seemed like such an insignificance. In fact a number of our priorities were redirected to the recycle bin.

From what I can see Maara chooses to be annoyed about having the “inconvenience” of an illness rather than being consumed by the more extreme negatives attached to cancer. There’s no blame levelled at anyone or anything and definitely no self pity. She’s motivated to keep her life as close to normal as possible and this is her way of doing that. With the mastectomy done, the next few months of treatment are simply an extension of that “inconvenience” and something to be endured if you want to beat cancer. I’m not sure if faced with an aggressive disease like this, if I would have the same courage and fight in me. I watched Maara sleeping the other day and wondered why she was dealt this hand. Anyone who has had contact with her knows what I mean. She has such a beautiful and faithful spirit that people warm to her so easily. She’s a loving wife and a fabulous mum. With the help of God, friends, family and a team of medical experts we see the odds of taming our unwelcomed visitor as heavily stacked in our favour.

Already we have experienced overwhelming kindness and comfort from people who know our plight. I’m not quite sure how I will ever repay them. Tracey Richardson is one of those people. I referred to her earlier in my story. She has played such a key role in our lives of late and probably doesn’t fully appreciate that fact. If it wasn’t for her we probably would have elected to get the warrant of fitness instead of the mammogram. If it wasn’t for her, Maara would not have been so mentally well prepared for the invasive treatment. If it wasn’t for her significant monetary support (Tracey has purchased 3 "Cancer Cakes" for $1,000), Herceptin treatment for Maara would not be such a reality. Tracey is confronting challenges with her own cancer but she has decided not to let that hamper her from helping others struggling with the disease. To you Tracey we say thank you and pray that the pending chemo treatment goes well.

Another person who needs to be mentioned is my dear friend Kathryn Harris. She will not want this type of acknowledgement but I’m beyond caring about her reluctance to accepting thanks. We are so grateful to Kathryn for so many things. When our lives were upturned with this news she was determined to ensure that we didn’t fully capsize. Kathryn has been an immense support through both practical means and good old chats. She has been a stabilising factor in a time of true chaos. The wonderful cakes she has created will be on offer for sale with the proceeds going directly to fund Maara’s Herceptin programme. This is only a fraction of what she has planned in order to help us through this ordeal. What a remarkable person she is. There will never be enough words in any language to thank her for her commitment to us.

Our children, Lahaina and Stuey, have been dealing with this situation in different ways. Lahaina, outwardly the cool customer, but inwardly deeply concerned. Every night Stuey petitions God to remove the cancer disease from his mum. He says that prayer with such faith and conviction that I believe God will not ignore him.

It is a journey we are experiencing (please pardon the cliché). Along the way there will be some difficult parts to negotiate and we will confront them as they happen. We expect there will be people we will come across who will sustain through us the different stages and we thank them in advance. We are confident the journey has a positive end.

It's a big target but with your help we can do this.....

Welcome to the "Support Maara" Blog. This blog has been set up as an aid to help raise the $65,000 (New Zealand Dollars) needed to fund a 12 month course of the drug Herceptin. Please keep checking back regularly to this site to offer support, ideas, prayers.... and most importantly $$$$$$.

Over the next three months we will be running several charity actions, events, raffles in an aim to achieve the $65,000 to fund Maara's treatment. Please feel free to send your friends and family this link so they too can offer support.

Along with the many events we will be organising you can at anytime make a donation at the ASB Bank using the following bank account number:


International & Credit Card donations can be made by using Paypal and using the email address to send funds.

Thank you so much for your support

Cakes for Cancer

Need a cake for special occasion??? You won't find cakes like this in the bakery section of your local foodtown!!! Birthday, leaving party, retirement, engagement.... a unique cake will be designed just for you!

Novelty Cake Raffle: 100 tickets per cake (that's great odds!) $5 per ticket. The winner of each raffle will win a cake (theme/style of your choice on an agreed date).....

To purchase a raffle ticket please email (use cake raffle in the subject line). 100% of the proceeds will be going to the Support Maara fund... (all cake ingredients, boards, ribbons, labour etc are being donated by the "cakemaker").

Generosity from across the world!!!

Jane Knoll from Canada made this beautiful Hatbox cake for a customer on Saturday and after reading the plight of Junior & Maara has donated the proceeds to Maara's Herceptin fund. Jane is a friend of the "cake maker" and doesn't even know Junior or Maara.... we thank Jane for her generosity and kindness... $100 has now been added to the fund:)

13yr old girl pledges pocket money - News at Ten....

13 year old West Auckland school girl Mikayla Hall has donated her pocket money to the fund.... $20 has now been added.

Way to go Mikayla :)