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New gifting service to support during the tricky times

Guest Article | Siobhan Conroy

You might be thinking that this name sounds familiar? Well you will be correct if you read our article about NFTees, the business founded by Siobhan's son, Eli Conroy. Siobhan is a remarkable human being who spent countless years advocating for the NET cancer community and lobbying the necessary government and health agencies for more support for this debilitating illness. Now she has turned her experience into a retail business that fits firmly in the conscious consumerism space, as she explores solutions that make the world a better place for patients, carers, friends and families of those suffering and fighting the hardest of times.


Knowing what to do or say when someone is diagnosed or dealing with a major health issue can be really difficult. More often than not, it ends up in the ‘too hard basket’ and patients find that many of their friends and family can slowly disappear after an initial diagnosis period simply because they just don’t know what to do to help.

This is a situation that Siobhan Conroy is all-too familiar with. Back in 2003 she was diagnosed with MEN Type 1, a genetic condition that causes neuroendocrine cancer to develop. This is the same disease that claimed the life of her Father at the age of 44 when she was only 3 years old. A lack of information and support for this type of cancer in NZ prompted Siobhan to establish Unicorn Foundation NZ.

She ran the charity for over 7 years and during this time witnessed first-hand the struggle that friends and family of patients go through in not knowing how best to show support.

“The default reaction seemed to be to send flowers or lasagne, neither of which are particularly useful to someone going through cancer treatment. Unfortunately another common response is to simply do nothing for fear of doing the wrong thing.”

Conroy knew there had to be a solution and so in 2020 stepped away from the Unicorn Foundation NZ to start up Cancer Care Box. Armed with years of experience in dealing with patients and living through her own health challenges, Conroy set about scanning the market for practical items to assist with treatment and recovery. One of the early complexities she had to deal with was to define who the customer was.

“Early on I found myself always looking at business through the lens of the patient, because that’s my default after being involved with the charity for so long. However, I had to switch my perspective with the realisation that my customer is going to be the support person, not the patient.”

From that point on, the vision of the business has been to help friends and family show support to patients but with items that are both thoughtful and practical. To this end, Conroy has designed a range of Care Boxes to suit specific situations and make it easy for customers to choose the appropriate product. There are boxes for hospital stays, Chemotherapy, Radiation, and for support people. There is even a selection of boxes to say thanks to Doctors and Nurses as often conveying gratitude to those involved in caring for a loved one is not easy.

From the outset, Conroy has included additional elements to help her customers show their support beyond simply sending for a box. For example, customers are able to include a custom message which is printed on a gift card. She has even curated a selection of her favourite messages that customers can use as inspiration if they are struggling to find the right words themselves. She is also currently working on a series of blogs and information to provide advice on how to be a good support person, as to the uninitiated this can be a daunting and often scary proposition.

While Cancer Care Box is keeping Conroy extremely busy, the current gifting service is the tip of the iceberg. Conroy has aspirations to extend the brand into helping suffers of other illnesses.

“It didn’t take long to realise that the service I provide is applicable to a number of circumstances. Basically anyone wanting to support a friend, a family member or even an employee going through hardship could benefit from this service. There seems to be such a focus in this space on celebrating the good times, but for whatever reason I seemed to have found a niche in helping people through adversity, and I absolutely love it”.

What makes it all worthwhile is the messages Conroy receives from both her customers and the recipients of her boxes. She has loads of great reviews on the Facebook page, @cancercareboxNZ and also the Instagram page.

If someone you know is facing hardship or if you would like to set up a corporate account please contact or visit:

and coming very soon: – Thoughtful gifting for the tricky times

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