A combination of fear and anxiety, plus the difficulty in conveying the importance of regular breast screening into the ethnically diverse population of the Canterbury region, has resulted in breast screening rates well below that of the New South Wales state average. The new Campsie Breast Screening Centre will be launched to help address this imbalance and reduce the numbers of breast cancer fatalities in the local area.
Throughout October, Lantern Club set out to raise valuable funds and community awareness for the new multi-million dollar Campsie Breast Screening Centre. A series of events were planned to turn Lantern Club PINK! with the main event being the Fundraiser Dinner on October 8. These included:
- Launch of the new NSW BreastScreen van
- PINK! Bingo
- PINK! Fundraiser Dinner
- PINK! Sports Day – Kingsgrove Cricket Club, Roselands Swimming Club and Roselands Flames Bowling Club
- Party in PINK! Melbourne Cup Finale
The goal was to raise $30,000 across all of these events but thanks to the generosity of local organisations and members of the community we reached above and beyond this goal. The BreastScreen Fundraiser Dinner alone raised $74,150.40, with Lantern Club donating 100% of all ticket sales and sales from the amazing auction items all going towards this worthy cause.
The Fundraiser Dinner was a wonderful occasion. The room was filled with a broad cross-section of the Canterbury region, including former NSW Premier and now Lantern Club’s Community Manager, Morris Iemma, Mayors from surrounding local councils, representatives from charitable organisations who donated so generously and leaders of the many immigrant groups that call the area home, including the Arabic, Chinese and Greek communities.
The night was hosted by much loved Australian Logie Award-winning actress, comedian and television personality Mary Coustas, best known for her stereotypical Greek-Australian character ‘Effie’. With her undeniable charm, comedic talent, ethnic background and experience with breast cancer in her own family, Coustas was able to combine humour with her own experiences to convey the importance of breast screening to the enamoured audience.
“It is a life saving test and it does give you peace of mind,” said Coustas.
“I urge anyone over 40, it’s a good idea to have regular mammograms and for women 50 plus, it’s an even better idea.
“There’s no more loving gesture, than to push loved ones towards something that is ultimately going to be very good for them. And this is the ultimate loving gesture, to force, hint, take and kidnap someone to help them get their breasts screened.
“If you have a mother, sister, daughter or wife that is at the right age, take them there. It’s the most loving thing you could do.”
Iemma, himself a child of Italian immigrants, is a former State Member for Lakemba. As a serving board member of the Cancer Institute NSW and with close ties to the local community, Iemma is a passionate advocate for the new Campsie Breast Screening Centre.
“What we see here tonight is a significant cross section of the community in this region. They’ve rallied behind this project and behind breast screening, to ensure the new service that has been funded through the Cancer Institute and the NSW Government is successful on the ground,” said Iemma.
“Shiny new technology will only go so far, this will only succeed if the message gets out into the community that screening is vital. It’s not just important for breast screening and breast cancer, it’s important for all types of cancer. But in particular it’s made a real and significant difference in reducing the death toll from breast cancer.
“All of the studies show the figures are going in the right direction, the survival rates are going up but unfortunately in many areas, the screening rates are going down. As we’re more successful with survival, there’s a perverse effect in some places that screen rates are going down.
“It’s vital that the community rallies behind the health services and the technology is put to its optimum use, and the message gets out. It will only succeed, and we will only get the screening rates in Canterbury up to where they should be, through grassroots support.”
The funds raised from the month-long PINK! campaign at Lantern Club will be used to ensure women in the local area feel safe, comfortable and educated when having a mammogram test.
Two of the key features of the new centre are the translation services available to cater for the vast majority of ethnic groups who live in the Canterbury area and the Australian-first, state of the art sensory suites, designed to make the mammogram experience as comfortable as possible. These suites are designed to distract women before undergoing mammogram testing through an interactive multi-sensory experience using sounds, sights and smells.
(Sydney Local Health District), has a very clear understanding of where the funds raised will be best served at the Campsie Breast Screening Clinic.
“Money raised will help to have regular interpreters at the new cancer site and will assist us to engage and educate women about the importance of regular breast screening in a safe and culturally accepted environment,” said Dr Vincent.
“We will focus particularly on Arabic, Greek, Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean languages. We believe we’ll be able to provide a life-saving service and foster lasting relationships with many women from diverse backgrounds.
“Our sensory suites make a mammogram a much more tolerable experience. Studies show that at least 25% of women avoid having mammograms due to the fear of pain and anxiety. The sensory suite uses interactive monitors so a womn can choose to have her mammogram by a waterfall, in a tropical garden or at the beach. The choice is hers and our sensory suite will take her there.
“We are very excited about having our new Campsie Breast Screen site and what we will be able to provide to the women of this wonderful, generous community.”
After the special guests spoke, attendees were able to show their financial support by bidding on a range of amazing auction items. Sports memorabilia, wine packages and ‘money can’t buy’ experiences were in high demand, with generous buyers digging deep to support such a worthy cause.
Some of the more popular items included:
- Signed jerseys from the Parramatta Eels and Greater Western Sydney Giants (donated by Dyldam) and Cronulla Sharks (donated by Carlton & United Breweries)
- James Estate wine and accommodation packages donated by Dyldam
- Passes to the Lord Mayor’s New Years Eve Party at the Sydney Opera House – Donated by the City of Sydney Council
- VIP Passes to the Opera in the Domain – donated by Stuart Ayres, NSW Minister for Tourism and Sport
- VIP Passes to the first three days of the New Years Test Match against the West Indies in the Sydney Cricket Trust private suite – donated by the Sydney Cricket Trust
- 4 passes to the Christmas Cup Carnival, including lunch at The Australian Turf Club – donated by the Australian Turf Club
Bidding was fierce and all items in the auction were sold for well above their reserves, raising around $25,000 for the Campsie Breast Screening Centre. As you can see from the photos, the money raised and the comments made by the special guests, the night was a wonderful occasion for everyone who came along, and a resounding success for the Campsie Breast Screening Centre.
After all PINK! events had passed, Lantern Club added further to the donations and rounded up the total donation amount. Thus the final figure raised for all of the PINK! events held at Lantern Club throughout October and the Party in Pink Melbourne Cup Finale is an impressive $100,000! Given the goal was to raise $30,000, the final figure equates to an enormous success and will provide much needed funds to such an incredible and worthy cause.
City of Canterbury
De Bortoli Wines
Carlton United Breweries
The Big Bright Letter Co.
© Lantern Club, Roselands