Karen Kirkby regularly travelled from her hometown Narrabri in regional NSW to Dubbo to receive breast cancer treatment. But for a one-off appointment, Karen made the three-and-a-half-hour journey down to Mudgee. It was a chance encounter on this trip that led her and the entire Namoi region down the pinkest of paths.
“I went to Mudgee to have a port-a-cath put in and stayed the night. The next morning, I went up the street and it was pink. Pink everywhere,” said Karen.
Little did Karen know that she had just wandered into Mudgee’s annual Pink Up Your Town event, raising funds for the McGrath Foundation.
“I read the signs and posters in shop front windows and decided I could try to Pink Up Narrabri. Then, while having chemo in Dubbo, I was in the chair and thought I could Pink Up the Region – Narrabri, Wee Waa, Baan Baa and Boggabri and call it Pink Up Namoi.”
For Karen, it wasn’t just her personal connection and experience with breast cancer that inspired her, but also the experiences of those within her close-knit community.
“I wanted the Namoi community to be involved in Pink Up Your Town because so many people in our region, and elsewhere, have been touched by breast cancer.
“I knew about the amazing work the McGrath Breast Care Nurses did from personal experience and I wanted to help the McGrath Foundation keep providing this free service to those diagnosed and their family,” Karen explained.
During their first year of Pinking up, Namoi well and truly embraced everything Pink and the meaning behind the colour. From a Pink Street Dinner Party to pink shop front competitions and everything in between, the Namoi community came out in droves to show their support.
“Businesses donated raffle prizes, purchased corporate tables at the Pink Dinner Party, held their own fundraising events and donated their time to the fundraising effort,” said Karen.
“Narrabri and Boggabri Rotary Clubs were instrumental in the success of the major events held, and businesses as far away as Dubbo, such as Dubbo Traffic Control donated their services for free.”
Not only did the Namoi region reach Karen’s original fundraising goal, they more than tripled it.
“Coming off the back of prolonged drought, a mouse plague and Covid, I was aiming to raise $25,000. All the effort was worth it because we raised over $106,000.”
With registrations now open for Pink Up Your Town 2022, Karen has some great advice for any first-timers.
“Just give it a go! If you think you have a good idea, own it, and share it with others. Enable others in the community to contribute where they can.”
As for Namoi, they’ll be back in Pink again this October with fundraising events throughout the region.
Pink is the Colour of October!
Pink is the Colour of love, of life, of hope, of care. Host a Pink Stumps Day, Pink Up Your Town or fundraise your way this Breast Cancer Awareness Month (1-31 Oct) and do it in Pink to show your support for those experiencing breast cancer.
Your support will move us closer towards a future where no one goes through breast cancer without the care of a McGrath Breast Care Nurse.