A mother-of-two who was diagnosed with breast cancer says she's overwhelmed by the support received since going public with her story, including over $200,000 in donations for overseas treatment.
Wanaka-based holistic nutritionist Kate Callaghan was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this month after discovering a lump.
She told Stuff on her initial visits, doctors said she was "too healthy" to get cancer and thought it was a result of recent breastfeeding. Professionals advised her not to worry as the 35-year-old personal trainer and lifestyle coach carried such low risk.
However, after seeking further opinion, the lump was confirmed to be stage four metastatic breast cancer, which then tragically spread to her lymph nodes and liver.
Callaghan, who has over 25000 followers on Instagram, turned to the public for help, explaining surgery had been called off.
"The only option provided by mainstream medicine is palliative chemo and radiation therapy. Essentially, they have said that there is nothing they can do. But I refuse to accept this," she wrote in an emotional post.
"My only option is alternative treatment (that is also evidence-based) in Mexico or Germany. Unfortunately, this is not funded, so this is where I’d like to ask for your help."
Callaghan asked for donations to help her get to a centre in Mexico, where treatment, accommodation and travel costs will cost upwards of NZ$70,000.
"Anything you can contribute would be so greatly appreciated, even if it is super strong positive vibes my way," Callaghan wrote.
Friends and strangers have risen to the challenge, raising over $200,000 on Givealittle page set up for Callaghan. Over 4000 donors have given money five days since it launched.
In an update, Callaghan's friend Jess Eastwood wrote that they were "deeply humbled and overwhelmed" by the donations.
"With this phenomenal amount that has been donated, this is all possible, and happening as soon as possible!" she wrote.
Callaghan posted a tearful video on her Instagram on Monday, thanking everyone for their support.
"I have been trying to think of the words to say that would express how incredibly grateful we are to all of your incredibly kind donations, your messages, your words of support, your energy, your love," she said.
"But there are no words. It's a shitty time and its not fair but I am confident but I will get through it and I will be stronger than ever on the other side."
Callaghan's Givealittle page is still accepting donations here.