TIME for towns to turn up the pink to celebrate and support the McGrath Foundation during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
The annual Pink Up Your Town event will see thousands of people across the country, raising much needed funds to place McGrath breast care nurses where they are needed most.
Now in its fifth year, the event will bring together communities - along with their local clubs, businesses, schools and neighbourhoods, to plan pink-themed events throughout October.
This huge show of support has continued over the past five years with the 2019 event seeing almost 70 Australian towns raising a whopping $580,000.
With COVID-19 restrictions in place in many states, McGrath Foundation ambassador and director, Tracy Bevan, said she was thankful to those who were finding new ways to get involved in events.
"We are so grateful for the support of the towns who have signed up to be involved in the fifth annual Pink Up Your Town," she said.
"Communities have been careful to plan COVID-safe activities in line with their state's guidelines and we have heard about socially-distanced galas planned, online auctions, sporting events and incentives to donate.
"The restrictions in each state have resulted in some really creative fundraising ideas, such as the homemade face masks for sale in Berry."
Ms Bevan said the funds raised would go towards funding McGrath breast care nurses in communities across Australia.
"The McGrath Foundation needs to raise funds to ensure our 151 existing McGrath breast care nurses can continue to provide free support to people with breast cancer and their families at this challenging time.
"The campaign is also a visual show of support for local people with breast cancer."
Ms Bevan said the McGrath Foundation relied on the generous support of the Australian public.
"It costs around $140,000 to fund a McGrath breast care nurse for a year including training and development.
"Ongoing funding is needed for our McGrath breast care nurses to ensure they can continue to provide support to families experiencing breast cancer across Australia."
In a year like no other, Ms Bevan said it was heartening to see towns taking the time to come together for Pink Up Your Town.
"Between bushfires, drought and the pandemic, it's been such a tough year for so many people, so it's great that Pink Up Your Town can bring people together," she said.
"It shows that these towns understand how important the support of a McGrath breast care nurse is for someone experiencing breast cancer.
"At a local level, Pink Up Your Town is organised by volunteers who generously give up their time to organise events, publicise activities and fundraise and we can't thank them enough."
Ms Bevan said those still looking to get involved have a number of options available including helping from home.
"There's a lot that can be done at home and many committees are still open to new members.
"Head to pinkupyourtown.com.au to find the nearest town to you taking part."
For more information about the McGrath Foundation and McGrath breast care nurses, visit: mcgrathfoundation.com.au.
- Australian Community Media, publisher of this newspaper, is a partner with the McGrath Foundation and Pink Up Your Town.