October is a great month for breast cancer awareness, according to the founders of a unique charity.
After a personal experience with breast cancer, colleagues Gary Sinclair and Mat Whitson recognised the importance of partners being aware of what THEY need to look for.
Tradies Support the Ladies raises awareness by wearing pink shirts on Fridays. The pink shirts act as a reminder to men to be aware of the symptoms of breast cancer, and to women to be always vigilant on self-checks and breast exams.
Gary said it started when he and Mat a were sitting around one Friday afternoon after both their wives had been diagnosed with breast cancer at a very young age.
“My wife lost her battle two years ago,” Gary said.
“Her breast cancer at first was only a lump – and in two months, it grew and went to stage three.
“That conversation that Tanya had with me, I felt my heart was being ripped out. It’s not something you want anyone to have.
“If it had been caught at stage one, the conversation would have been different.
“With the awareness, it’s about ‘it’s around, do something about it’.”
Gary says he and Mat thought something had to be done to start a conversation.
“We came up with a pink shirt.
“Awareness is the most important thing – wearing a pink shirt means you have to go home and check your partner.
“Most people wear a work uniform, so make the fifth one a pink one. A pink one means it’s the end of the week!”
With many charities competing for donations, Gary said they wanted to come up with something that just allowed people to spend as much or as little as they wanted and become their own ambassadors. First starting locally in their hometown of Tamworth, they have dedicated themselves to expanding awareness all around the country.
“There are now more than 250 stores around the country that stock our shirts. Education is free.
“We have a handshake deal with companies who donate 10 per cent of sales to various cancer charities, including the Cancer Council, wellness centres, and the McGrath Foundation.
“Cleanaway rubbish removal encourages their workers to go to their local stores and buy there, so the money stays in their local community.”
Gary and Mat are next heading to Victoria for a big launch in the first week of November. They know the more people they can make aware, the more it will help with early detection of breast cancer and hopefully save lives.
“It’s not bad for an idea which just started from a conversation by two mates who were facing the same life-changing circumstances,” said Gary.
|For information about how to become in involved and where to get all the pink products, go to tradiessupporttheladies.com.au.|