Carole Burberry

Lightening never strikes twice, except for Carole, who beat breast cancer and then bowel cancer. This is an incredible story of a woman who was determined to see her daughter grow up, and now her granddaughter.



Carole has always been an adventurer. After spending many years in the U.S working as a ski instructor, she eventually returned to New Zealand to raise her daughter. She became the long-time owner of The Steaming Bean, the iconic coffee cart on Taupo’s lakefront.

As a solo mum with a young daughter, and after coming from the U.S where health insurance is necessary, Carole made it a priority to get Southern Cross health insurance. When she found a pea-sized lump in her breast, her earlier decision to get health insurance proved a good one. “Oprah Winfrey was telling you how to hold your arm up and feel for a frozen pea while you’re in the shower [to check for lumps]. I did that and I found a frozen pea!” Unfortunately, it was breast cancer.

To treat her breast cancer, she had the option of chemotherapy or a mastectomy. She opted for the latter because she couldn’t afford to take more time away from her small business. “I had that peace of mind. I just called Southern Cross and said this is what is happening, and they took care of it. It was amazing to have things done so quickly, from appointments to surgery.”

Fast forward 13 years and, lightening shouldn't strike twice, but it did for Carole. Still a passionate skier and now an avid biker, she was happily clocking up the miles on the slopes of Wanaka when she felt a cyst on her bottom.

“I had a look with the mirror, and I noticed what looked like a little tentacle coming out of my bottom. I thought that was unusual, so I went and saw my GP.” Her GP immediately referred her to a specialist. “He did an examination at 4pm on the Thursday and Friday morning at 9:15am he said you’re having surgery on Monday in Christchurch. It was that quick, and by 11:30am on Monday I had the surgery and they removed a 3.5 inch tumour.”

All up, Southern Cross has paid over $100,000 of Carol’s medical expenses. “I was a single parent. I could never have afforded to pay that. Southern Cross have been with me through thick and thin and I’m so grateful to them.”

In 2020, we caught up with Carole in the Coromandel. She was there for the birth to her first granddaughter. “I still pay for my daughter’s insurance and I will do for my granddaughter’s insurance too because it’s one of the best gifts you can give a child actually.”

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*Carole Burberry has the Wellbeing Two plan with Southern Cross.