BY JULIA WADE
October is a time to not only revel in the finer spring weather, it is also a season to ‘Go Pink’ and help eradicate a disease destroying the lives of thousands of New Zealanders.
Breast Cancer Foundation NZ (BCFNZ) is once again seeking volunteers to help with its annual Pink Ribbon Street Appeal on October 12 and 13, the official month for Breast Cancer Awareness, with the plea ‘Team up for the ones you love’.
With more than 1000 collection points nationwide highlighted by differing hues of the colour, BCFNZ’s street appeal is the organisations most visible event, funding a large amount of the organisations work.
BCFNZ Street Appeal Coordinator for Mangawhai, Annette van Steenwijk, says the response from Mangawhai's community has again been very positive.
“Friday is filling up nicely but still need more collectors to fill in two-hour time slots on October 12 and 13, especially for Saturday, both at the Village and the Heads from 12 noon onwards, into the afternoon.”
BCFNZ reports that although the number of New Zealanders diagnosed with breast cancer is still on the increase – more than 3,300 women and 25 men a year – chances of surviving the disease have improved thanks to earlier detection and improved treatments. However, the organisations long-term vision remains at having zero deaths from the disease and the Pink Ribbon Street Appeal helps fund a large chunk of the work, BCFNZ chief executive Evangelia Henderson says.
“There’s a direct link between the time volunteers give on the street and our ability to fund research, support and education programmes,” she says. “We can’t just carry on as we are when so many women are still dying. The future of successful cancer treatment lies in personalised treatment targeted to each individual patient and we’re determined to help our health system get there… by addressing gaps in the current system through grants for medical equipment and training of doctors, making sure we get new treatments faster and new paradigms for patient support. We’re also funding our best researchers to move into leading-edge studies, such as bringing a therapeutic vaccine to clinical trial stage.”
Steenwijk says one way or another people know someone who have been affected by cancer.
“For me it was my mother who was diagnosed with breast cancer. Due to this, my three sisters and I are very aware of the early signs and importance of early detection. My mother’s illness has been the motivator for me to volunteer for breast cancer for years and be the street appeal organiser for Mangawhai.”
She asks the Mangawhai community to look out for the Pink collectors who will be stationed outside Bammas Surf shop in the Village and at Four Square in the Heads on Friday 12 and Saturday 13.
“I realise that the days coincide with the last weekend of the school holidays and that families are busy but I really hope it won’t stop people either wanting to help or willing to donate to a good cause.”
To volunteer for the Pink Ribbon Street Appeal or to make a donation, visit pinkribbonvolunteer.co.nz or phone 0508 105 105.
Long-time Pink Ribbon volunteer and Mangawhai’s own street appeal organiser, Annette van Steenwijk. “It is once more getting close to that time of the year that we GO PINK nationwide and in Mangawhai too!” - PHOTO/Supplied