Pink October highlights cause
- By Julia Wade
Volunteers kitted out with pink buckets took to the streets last weekend, positioned at over 1000 collection points throughout the country, to gather funds for a cause close to the hearts of many New Zealanders.
With October officially declared as breast cancer month, New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation (NZBCF) launched the essential and nationwide fundraiser, the annual Pink Ribbon Street Appeal on October 14-15.
Mangawhai Pink Ribbon Appeal coordinator, Annette van Steenwijk, says the support from the community has again been incredible.
“I am aware that it was the last weekend of the school holidays so I am grateful for all the help,” she says. “Mangawhai has been very generous again with volunteers offering their time.”
This year’s appeal was Steenwijk’s third in the coordination role and like many volunteers she has a personal connection to breast cancer. Her mother, a former nurse, survived the disease after opting for a mastectomy.
“My mother’s mind was set on surviving,” she says. “And she went on to live well into her eighties.”
Although the numbers of women being diagnosed with breast cancer is still more than 3000 a year, earlier detection and improved treatments have improved survival chances. However BCFNZ’s ultimate goal is to have zero deaths from the disease.
“Eight women are diagnosed with breast cancer every day and more than 600 New Zealanders die every year,” Steenwijk says. “The ongoing challenge is still enormous!”
BCFNZ Chief Executive, Evangelia Henderson, says the annual street appeal is vital as it funds a ‘large chunk’ of the work needed.
“There’s a direct link between the time people give on the street and our ability to fund research, support and education programmes,” she says. “The future of successful cancer treatment lies in personalised treatment… and we’re determined to help our health system get there. That means addressing gaps in the current system through our grants for medical equipment, training of doctors and so on – making sure we get new treatments faster and that we look at 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. We can’t just carry on as we are when so many women are still dying.”
n Donation amounts were not available at time of print. To make a donation, or for further information visit pinkribbonvolunteer.co.nz