Shirly Good is the kind of lady you go to for all sorts of advice, especially in a small town. She’s a hero cake maker, an exemplary seamstress, and an award-winning charity worker in the town of Penguin, home to around 4,500 people, on the north-west coast of Tasmania.
In 2018, in typical Shirly fashion, she registered Pink Up Your Town and did it on her own that first year, raising a substantial $7,500 for McGrath Foundation. She was inspired to get involved after her sister sadly passed away in 2018 from breast and ovarian cancer.
“When my sister was ill, I thought I would love to do something to help her,” recalls Shirly. “When she passed away, I decided to register for Pink Up Your Town. My mother also died young of breast cancer, along with my niece — so it truly is a cause dear to my heart.”
The first thing Shirly did in that initial year was to make a pink suit for the infamous Penguin monument in its namesake town of Penguin. “It took 18 metres of pink fabric, and I used an old pattern for a Santa suit,” explains Shirly.
Since then, Pink Up Your Town is a group effort with the whole town behind Shirly, and dressing up the Penguin has become an Insta-worthy moment every October. Shirly now has six people on her committee and the ideas have expanded from Penguin suits to pretty pink lunch events and pink pancake days, pink Tupperware parties and more.
“Our Penguin in Pink Luncheon is one of the key events and I don’t even have to invite people to come! It usually sells out by July. People arrive and say: ‘Pop me down for next year Shirly!’ We have a lovely venue decorated in pink, guest speakers, fun games, raffles and a two-course lunch followed by pink-iced cupcakes.”
Since 2018, the fundraising committee have raised $54,000, and in 2023 Shirly aims to make her town one of the pinkest on the map, to raise vital funds for McGrath Breast Care Nurses, whom she believes are an absolute godsend.
“When my mother passed away from cancer at the young age of 47, breast care nurses were unheard of. During her illness, she had to travel to Launceston for care. Now, there are McGrath Breast Care Nurses nearby who offer support almost immediately.”
The fundraising work Shirly and her team have done in Penguin has heightened awareness for breast checks for both men and women, and Pink Up Your Town brings the whole community together in a fun and very pink way, to tackle an important health issue.
“If you are thinking of getting involved and registering your town — don’t be afraid, just have a go. It brings the community together and makes everyone feel really positive, even during tough times. My motto is there’s always another page in your book, there’s always tomorrow. So, find a good committee leader, get some locals together and go for it!”
Decorate your town pink and turn Breast Cancer Awareness Month into your month to support McGrath Foundation. From your streets to your schools, decorate your town in the colour of care and raise funds to ensure no one misses out on the care of a McGrath Breast Care Nurse.
Register to Pink Up Your Town this October at https://www.pinkisthecolour.com.au/event/pink-up-your-town