Strike me pink! Macksville ready to rally behind McGrath Foundation

Joy Sheather, Dawn Cooper, Karen Davis and Brenda Stanton (not pictured) make up the fantastic four.
Joy Sheather, Dawn Cooper, Karen Davis and Brenda Stanton (not pictured) make up the fantastic four.

It started innocently enough ... with a little advertisement in the paper.

"Who is going to pink up your town?" the McGrath Foundation ad read.

It took two shakes of a lamb's tail for Joy Sheather to answer with an emphatic - "Me!"

"Our little town has seen a lot of breast cancer. I know a lot of women who have had to have their breasts off," she said.

"I just think they're so brave."

Since rising to the challenge, Joy, and three other gutsy gals she enlisted the help of, have devised a Macksville fundraiser that has become bigger than Ben-Hur.

And all funding is going straight towards the indispensable services of McGrath Breast Care Nurses.

In the past the swift kick in the guts of a breast cancer diagnosis was quickly superseded by a prolonged, often excruciating, and - for many patients - lonesome struggle to get back into the pink.

For the lucky, friends and family provided welcome distraction and emotional support. But the journey was still often mired in confusion.

But since 2005, 75,000 Australian families have been compassionately guided and ultimately empowered through the diagnosis, treatment, and the healing process of the most prevalent cancer in women, by a McGrath Breast Care Nurse.

Carolyn Cross

Carolyn Cross

Many in the Valley were understandably tickled pink when Macksville scored itself the only McGrath nurse for 150km in any direction; with only 135 McGrath Breast Care Nurses spread across the whole of Australia, the Nambucca has been truly blessed to have its very own pink angel in the form of Carolyn Cross, and Jo Smith before her.

One of the Pink Up Macksville organisers, Karen Davis, believes having that kind of free professional support would have made all the difference in her own family's instance.

Karen needed to return home to help support her mother after her diagnosis.

"It was stressful, traumatising - people didn't talk about things like that back then," she said.

"And I bottled it up - it took me a huge amount of time to get over the grief of losing my mother."

Despite working full time, Karen knew she had to be on board Joy's pink train.

"What inspired me was the fact we have a nurse in town that supports patients and their families," she said.

Dawn Cooper and Brenda Stanton round out the fantastic four.

And if the rest of October pans out anything like their first street stall did, then the McGrath Foundation isn't going to know what hit 'em.

"That was a huge success - we sold everything but the trestle table by 11.30am," Joy said.

The next stall is this Thursday in the main street. But wait until you hear what else they've got planned: "We're going to be knackered by the end of October that's for sure," Joy said.

Macksville will host its first ever pink cattle sale on October 12 ... no bull.

The saleyards will swing a sassy shade of salmon, and there'll be raffles, cakes and homemade goodies aplenty.

And if you want to try your luck you can have a wager on the weight of a beast festooned in a fuchsia fillet. Or the juniors can get the jump on a jar of jelly beans.

"It's going to be an absolute hoot," Joy said.

There's a bra-decorating competition running throughout the month of October with judging during the Gala Day.

There's a bra-decorating competition running throughout the month of October with judging during the Gala Day.

On September 27 and October 11 there's a Tapas and Fashion Parade event at Elk on 48, with fashions by Lucy Fru Fru.

The first one sold out in less than 24 hours, and the second one soon after that. There's now a third event being planned, with date yet to be confirmed, so keep your ears to the ground.

The Nambucca Valley Cancer Support Group are also holding their annual Fashion Parade at the Macksville Ex-Services as part of breast cancer awareness month on October 3 from 10-12am; all proceeds raised from that event are delivered back into the local community.

Bonsers is putting on a Pink Curry and Quiz night on the 15th, with drink on arrival and main and dessert all included in the price - $10 of which will be donated to the cause.

Or for those who prefer to lunch like ladies, there's a Pink High Tea planned for the 17th at Cafe Zen - the new one at Fairway Gardens.

Later that evening there's a Pink Seafood Raffle at the Macksville Ex-Services Club, and then on the 18th, they're holding a cocktail do.

But the cherry on the pink cake will be the Gala Day on the 25th along the river bank.

The Sydney-based seven-piece jazz and blues outfit Nickel and Dime will be performing live, and 2NVR will be there, broadcasting live from the event and keeping the tunes cranking all day.

There'll be a variety of craft and information stalls set up, including one from BreastScreen Australia, and one displaying information about the new hospital.

The Lions will be manning the barbecue, but they'll be the lone food vendors on the day: "All the cafes have been right behind us, and we want them to have rip-roaring business that day," Joy said.

And there'll be a raft of competitions judged on the day, including best decorated bra, best-dressed shop window, and the mega raffle draw.

"There'll be plenty of booby prizes," Karen said, grinning.

Macksville Primary and High School students will be doing a 'Town Walk' with pink collection buckets.

And there'll be a few guest speakers throughout the day. Just on the down-low, with our cricketing background, our little glen could possibly get bowled one very special McGrath guest on the day.

So there's no shortage of ways to get involved if you're thinking of going pink this October.

For more event details, visit the Pink Up Macksville Facebook page.

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