In this Beacon we’re revisiting a popular theme that we first featured in our Autumn 2009 issue. Just as we did then, we have received many stories from women sharing the things they have done since being diagnosed that they never thought they would. Some have achieved personal challenges, others have discovered a new “normal”, and all have taken the time to reflect on how they are different and how their breast cancer diagnosis contributed to that change.
Earlier this year more than 100 women put up their hand to skydive to help us launch this year’s Pink Bun campaign. It was a fantastic morning and I enjoyed witnessing the elation of the three women selected. This experience is a great example of how breast cancer changes lives in sometimes surprising ways.
This year the Pink Bun campaign raised a record $1.79 million, a fantastic effort and fitting result to mark our 15-year partnership.
Hearing women’s stories is one of the great privileges of working at BCNA. It helps us understand the experiences of women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer so we can provide better support, more information or focus our efforts on advocacy campaigns that improve our members’ treatment or care.
I heard many stories from women when I attended my first BCNA National Summit in Melbourne in July. BCNA hosts a summit every two years to bring together key women from around Australia to attend a two-day program to learn, connect and share information. A highlight was the inspirational keynote speeches from Lyn Swinburne, BCNA founder, Diana Williams, founder of Fernwood Fitness and Carolyn Creswell, founder of Carman’s Kitchen. Delegates have since returned to their communities with renewed energy and a clear plan to support the women they care for.
I am pleased to announce BCNA’s two former CEOs have been appointed as health service board chairs in Melbourne. Our founder Lyn Swinburne is now Chair of the Royal Women’s Hospital and Maxine Morand is Chair of the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. Their roles are to oversee and manage these hospitals to ensure they provide high quality and timely care to patients. We are thrilled that these roles are now held by two women who bring with them a strong background in consumer advocacy.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month around the world. We know that this can be a difficult time for some of our members. Seeing so much pink can be an unwelcome reminder of something you’d rather forget. However, many of our BCNA members participate in various functions, run community- based events, hold
Mini-Fields of Women and celebrate with support groups and with one another.
This year BCNA will be hosting five Pink Lady luncheons across Australia in Perth, Hobart, Melbourne, Canberra and Brisbane. See the back cover to find out more.
BCNA will also once again recognise Secondary Breast Cancer Day on 13 October to raise awareness of the unique needs and challenges for women living with an advanced diagnosis. We are proud to have influenced the Australian Government’s recent decisions to list the drugs Perjeta and Kadcyla on the PBS and to change the superannuation laws to allow Australians living with a terminal illness to access their lump sum superannuation earlier. We continue to advocate on behalf of those living with secondary breast cancer.
I’d like to thank our long-term sponsor Australian Paper for generously donating the paper for this bumper issue.
I wish you all the best in your October endeavours.
Chief Executive Officer