When Gai Hawthorn, CEO of Penrith CBD Corporation, was contacted by the McGrath Foundation in 2018, her board members had a polite giggle because Gai didn’t follow cricket. Since then, the Co-Founder and President of the McGrath Foundation and former international cricketer Glenn McGrath, has taught Gai a thing or two about the game — and also collaborated with her committee to increase breast cancer awareness and raise important funds with Pink Up Penrith.
“Five years ago my Dad passed away from cancer and my Nan passed away from breast cancer years ago, so I was passionate about helping the McGrath Foundation,” says Gai.
“Tracy Bevan, McGrath Foundation Ambassador and Director, rang me but I didn’t know who she was, when I told my board members they all had a laugh because I didn’t follow cricket and they couldn’t believe I didn’t know! So, I called her back and Tracy said, ‘Do you know the pink cricket in January?’ — and that’s how it all started perhaps a good laugh, but a journey honoured to now help with each year for those in our local community in need of care from McGrath Foundation.”
Pink Up Penrith is now in its sixth year and each October Gai and the local committee relish the opportunity to work closely with their community on fundraising events. “Despite all the committee having demanding jobs, we’re driven to help because of the incredible work that the McGrath Foundation does. We see and hear the results, and people in Penrith are living the results of receiving the incredible care of McGrath Breast Care Nurses,” she says.
Gai believes her role as CEO of Penrith CBD Corporation is a wonderful platform to activate Pink Up Penrith, especially with the support and blessing of Penrith City Council. “I have connections to many of our local businesses, which is crucial to getting the message out and assisting with venues and donations. This isn’t only about me doing something for the McGrath Foundation, this is about Penrith Businesses and Community getting involved together doing something for our local families in need.”
The Penrith community are notoriously passionate about sport and one of the biggest events for Pink Up Penrith is Pink Up Golf Day. “It usually sells out in 10 minutes, along with other popular fundraisers like the famous PINK UP High Tea.” Gai believes the secret to their success is that so many businesses, schools, and individuals get involved. “In Penrith, we really do think and breathe ‘Pink Up’ all year round and then in October, the whole town goes pink to help those in need locally!”.