Augusta’s population hovers around 1000, but the small town is big on community spirit. When it first signed up for Pink Up Your Town in 2019, it started off as a cake bake-off in front of the local IGA, a morning tea and an auction at the Augusta Hotel.
It has since grown and this year will include a movie night at the hotel, stand-up paddleboard party on the river, pink lawn bowls and a family cricket day.
The whole town is getting involved, young and old. Local schoolkids will be making pink bracelets to sell while the crafting club will be knitting pink beanies for purchase.
The Augusta Hotel is the hub, with an auction at the end of the month as well as weekly raffles, where they’ll donate the proceeds of the meat raffle. They’ve even designed a cocktail – The Boobalicious, and a local winery has donated fuchsia wine.
It’s a cause Bronwyn Proctor, organiser of Pink Up Augusta, feels passionately about having lost her mum to breast cancer in 2021. Bronwyn believes the small town’s strength is in its strong community spirit.
“Everyone rallies behind Pink Up Augusta,” she says. “For the bowls night, I already have 18 teams registered, at four people per team. Our last Pink Up event at the hotel for the auction night last year would’ve had close to 200 people there.”
The Augusta Hotel is the heart of the town, but that’s not the only reason why it’s heavily involved in the fundraising month. The hotel’s manager, Shaunaugh Boston, also lost her mum to cancer. Together, Shaunaugh and Bronwyn are motivated to raise as much money as they can for the McGrath Foundation while raising awareness for breast cancer.
“It’s what drives me to do it and to raise as much as we can,” Bronwyn says. “The town really gets behind it, I think it’s because we’ve had a lot of locals diagnosed with breast cancer or we’ve lost somebody close to us to breast cancer.”
“We don’t have a local McGrath Breast Care Nurse. We used to when my mum was diagnosed in 2014 but when it metastasized, there was no local breast care nurse. There’s definitely a big difference between having one and not.
“The McGrath Breast Care Nurse explained everything to mum, me and my sisters. To have somebody run through that with you, to sit with mum while she was having chemo and being there for her to talk to was so important.”
As well as fundraising, Bronwyn is driven by the need to raise awareness and have important conversations about early detection. Being in a regional town makes it harder to go and get checked and there’s greater emphasis on utilizing the available resources.
“We get the breast screen bus that comes down here every 12 months. When mum was first diagnosed and the bus came, she did a big push to her friends to go and get checked. Out of her network, three other women were diagnosed,” Bronwyn says.
“She ended up doing chemo with one local lady, and they were a great support to each other.”
Bronwyn and Shaunaugh take the lead on fundraising for Pink Up Augusta and there are five others on the committee.
“The McGrath Foundation has been a huge support and have helped us,” she says. She hopes this year’s auction will be the biggest one yet.
Getting nearly 20 per cent of the town to attend last year’s event was no mean feat and with some special cricket collectibles on offer, it’s looking like it’ll be a corker!