Whole Lotta Life Foundation founder Kristin Paterson, left, and event organiser Caron Proctor. Photo: Judene Edgar.

Whole Lotta Life goes tribal


Kristin Paterson was 26 years old with a toddler and a new born baby when she received her diagnosis of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

While her friends were meeting to discuss their babies, she was struggling to come to grips with cancer and what it meant for her and her young family.

“I was really struck with the isolation of it all. I was home too sick to engage with people and increasingly I struggled to relate to my friends and family,” she says.

“I was two years too old for Canteen and when I went to my first chemo treatment I was probably 25 years younger than anyone else in the room.”

“I found there was really nothing for people my age. It was a pretty lonely feeling at a time when I really needed a lot of support.”

Kristin says that the key is being able to connect to and relate with other people. While there are universal struggles for people with cancer, there are also unique struggles depending on your age and stage of life.

“It’s about having a peer group that you can relate to.”

In response to this need, in 2013 Kristin founded the Whole Lotta Life Foundation. The Foundation provides a nationwide support network for people with cancer aged 20 to 45, with regional meet-ups, retreats and online connections.

Late last year, Kristin made a connection with Tribe founder Caron Proctor. Tribe is a business networking group that Caron founded in 2016 to provide mentoring, support and connections for women in business.

“I was so blown away by Kristin’s story and really understood the need that the Foundation was filling, so I just wanted to be able to help,” says Caron.

“Tribe is about not being alone and so is Whole Lotta Life, so I think there’s such a great synergy, and I thought that we could help to shine a light on the cause.”

So a group of Tribe members have used their skills and networks to create the ‘Shine your light’ fundraiser which is being held at the Granary this Saturday.

Tickets are $60 and are available from the River Kitchen, The Co-op Hairdressing or Nelson Beauty Therapy, or online at yourtribe.net. For more information go to wholelottalife.org.