A toast to a top effort raising money to fight breast cancer

WHAT is the best way to celebrate raising more than $10,000 for people living with breast cancer? 

By popping a bottle of pink champagne.

The much deserved bottle of bubbly was opened after McGrath breast cancer nurse Marg Centra was presented with cheques totalling $10,494.30.

The money was raised during a recent Girls’ Night In held at Sale Tennis Club.

The event committee, made up of Kerry McMillan, Judy Lawless, Janine Pilgrim, Tracey and Jess Rowe, Julie Riley, Lucinda Schenk, Lynette Bennett, Jude Mogridge and Karen Pollett, worked diligently for months to make the night a success.

What the women weren’t prepared for, but warmly welcomed, were the 190 people who turned out for the event.

Women of all ages from Wellington Shire and some people further afield attended to show their support for people living with breast cancer.

Door takings, which were donated to Cancer Council Victoria, totalled $6500. 

This money was in addition to the $10,494.30 raised.

In previous years, Janine and Tracey had held separate Girls’ Night In events, but this year decided to collaborate. The result was a huge success.

Tracey said they attributed a great deal of their success to local people and businesses who had donated items for auction on the night.

“Everyone was so generous,” she said.

“There were about 60 silent auction items;  there was just so much goodwill.

“Everyone wants to help because everyone knows someone who has had cancer.”

Marg Centra, who works for Gippsland Women’s Health, said the money would go towards financial support for local people living with breast cancer.

“I am absolutely delighted to receive these funds, and would like to sincerely thank the committee who have worked tirelessly since August to ensure the success of the night,” she said.

“I am also indebted to the individuals and businesses and other groups who donated prizes and money towards the evening. 

“I am well aware of the generosity of our region and wish to thank them very much, along with the happy people who supported the night, and the wonderful men present who played an invaluable role serving drinks, calling the auction and calling for quiet.

“The funds raised enable me as a McGrath breast care nurse to target families in need and contribute some funds towards travel, accommodation away from home, groceries and other essentials to ensure they are able to access treatment.”

Marg said there were many physical and emotional strains that came with a breast cancer diagnosis, but there were also significant ongoing financial costs.

“Breast cancer is an unwelcome and unplanned for event in anyone’s life,” she said.

“Treatment can continue over many months or years and for some women for the rest of their lives.”

She said this could include costs involved with treatment of the disease, managing side effects and monitoring for recurrence of cancer.

Many patients are also unable to work for periods of time. 

“Such visits involve fees, with many gaps in the Medicare rebate,” she said.

“In rural areas it will regularly involve significant ongoing travel to treatment centres. 

“For many families, this ongoing cost inflicts great financial hardship which can impact the whole family at a time when they are already under stress.”

Gippsland Women’s Health in Sale offers many support services, including a wig bank for people who have lost their hair through treatment. 

For more information, phone Gippsland Women’s Health on 5143 1600.