WA’s vibrant annual event, IGA Purple Bra Day, will be held tomorrow, September 18 on the streets of Perth CBD.
The event hosted by Breast Cancer Care WA and Breastscreen WA will include various activities around the city. Experts from both organisations will be at the main marquee in Forrest Chase to answer questions and book consultations.
There will also be celebrity appearances like Sole Survivor of Australian Survivor–David Genat, Perth Wildcat Mitch Norton and new recruit Trench Blanchfield on the streets to meet and greet people for the cause.
The heart of the event is to raise awareness about breast cancer and to fundraise for Breast Cancer Care WA.
Marketing manager Larissa Wiese says the organisation provides free-of-charge specialist breast care nursing, counselling and financial support to any West Australian facing a diagnosis of breast cancer.
Ms Wiese says: “We serve over 1000 individuals and families a year. We receive no government funding, so events such as Purple Bra Day are crucial to the ongoing concern of Breast Cancer Care WA.”
She adds they hope to raise $200,000 tomorrow, as this year they have faced a shortfall of $1 million in income from previous events.
There are a number of ways to get involved in Purple Bra Day including wearing a purple bra over purple clothes or buying a fundraising pack that includes a signature purple bra.
People are also encouraged to create and set up their own fundraising events to help assist in raising money for the cause.
Volunteer and fundraiser for the event Kaitlyn Cherie Vegvari says she will be on the street shaking tins tomorrow along with other volunteers, because while she was lucky to grow up in a family without major medical problems, others are not so fortunate, and she likes to offer what help she can.
Other organisations supporting survivors of breast cancer include the Amazons Perth Dragon Boat Club.
Amazons board member and paddler Dilys Doherty says there are a big group of survivors internationally involved in the sport of dragon boat racing.
Inspired by Dr Don McKenzie who discovered that paddling is a model activity for cancer survivors, the club is a member Breast Cancer Network Australia and helps support cancer survivors through the exercise of paddling.
A common problem post-breast surgery is swelling and hardening of tissues, called lymphedema. Ms Doherty says: “We give pamphlets and tell our new survivors that paddling is a way to get rid of the lymphedema.”
She says in 2018 the team went to the International Breast Cancer Paddlers Commission (IBPCP,) an international dragon boat festival, that she described as almost like the Olympic games but for breast cancer survivors.
“Dragon boating is an international sport and most countries have breast cancer survivor teams.”
Ms Doherty says that cancer survivors used to be told not to do anything, but Dr McKenzie put a group of women in a boat to see if that would improve their physical and mental fitness and it’s been a huge movement since then.
“It is helped big time with the lymphedema and it’s just a group of women with the same experience in life that come together.
“We talk, we all know we are survivors, it’s not something we dwell on but if anyone has any problems, they’ve got a whole team of people who they can talk to and understand what they have gone through.”