They say alone we can do so little, together we can do so much. This couldn’t be more true for local fundraiser Breaky for Boobies, the brainchild of two Geelong mums – Emily Townsing and Clare Barnes.
The girls’ mission is to help raise awareness about breast cancer and to do so, they took to Instagram last year to kick-start their venture.
“This started last year from something that we thought would be something really small, and Clare and I had actually connected through Instagram and sort of joined the dots that we were both local to each other and had this tiny little gem of an idea of wouldn’t it be cool to do some little thing to help,” Emily says.
Clare’s personal connection to breast cancer comes from losing her mum Deborah Evans, who was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 41, which has always been a driving force behind her wanting to contribute to the cause. In the past, Clare had often hosted girl’s nights in and other
smaller-scale fundraisers before coming up with the idea for the breakfast last year.
“We caught up a year ago and thought let’s really make it happen because Clare had seen a prompt for the Pink Ribbon Breaky and we thought that might be a mechanism that we can use. So that’s what we started, we registered, and we put $1000 on there and we thought, well what if we try and reach out to a handful of people and see if we can get some little donations to give at our morning tea and raise a bit of extra money,” Emily explains.
From there, the pair became instantly overwhelmed with the amount of people wanting to be involved, and asking what they would like as a donation. The girls ended up with so many donations that they decided to also run an online auction through Instagram, alongside their morning tea.
However, with such as overwhelming response, the girls decided their morning tea needed to be more of a breakfast, and reached out to Sailors Rest to help make this as big as they could.
“It all just sort of snowballed really from there. It became enormous and we sent them $21,500 last year at the end of it. For our $1000, registration, we did 20 times that amount,” Emily says.
And this year, the girls are back, with the fundraiser looking to be even bigger.
“We’ve set our sights on completely smashing $21,500 and now we are feeling optimistic about that. I suppose at the start we were feeling a bit nervous that we’d set the benchmark really high, and we have to back it up, but we started reaching out to people again and we’ve got over 270 individual donations this year nationwide,” Emily says.
“This year we are going to have 225 tickets available. Last year our tickets sold out in a day and we were worried we wouldn’t sell any and we sold them all,” she continues. “We decided quite early on this year that the total ticket price will be a donation from the get-go. We now have five financial sponsors for this year’s event and our tickets are going to be $65 and that 100% is the start of our donation.”
With a cheeky name and a cheeky design (by Victor Fox Design), the girls’ main aim is to raise awareness about breast cancer, so that one day it won’t be an issue for their own children and the generations to come.
“This is a really dark stage in a lot of people’s lives, and for us, we don’t want it to be a sad event of ‘we’re all women, we could all get breast cancer, we could all die’, because that’s the reality,” Clare explains, “but this is what we’re doing because we’re trying to change this for our children, for our children’s children, for our best friends, for whoever.
“That’s our main goal, to raise awareness and just keep it a little bit cheeky, because we’re young and we’re a bit cheeky and we want it to bring in as many of those kinds of people as possible. When you’re in it, it can be a very dark time, a very solo ride and very lonely, and we would never disrespect any of that.”
“The whole thing for Claire and I is like starting a conversation, and as a device for doing that, it has been so much more than we ever could have anticipated it would be,” Emily says. “We’ve got young kids who talk about checking, and how important that is, and my kids are seven and five and that wouldn’t be in their dialogue at all. It’s our little baby, and it’s got way bigger than we thought it would, and I’m sure it will continue to do that.”
The main event will be a social breakfast serving “breakfast bites” or cocktail-style breakfast food, including danishes, fruit cups and granola bowls. There will be champagne on arrival with door prizes, raffles, live and silent auctions, so guests are encouraged to dig deep in return for some great items, along with goodie bags valued at over $100. The Instagram Auction will run on September 10 where followers can place their bids during the allocated time.
With every dollar going straight to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, the fundraiser not only supports those fighting breast cancer, but it also admires the survivors and honours those taken, in a community gathering coming together to never give up hope.
Breaky for Boobies 2017 will be held on October 20 at Barwon Edge Boathouse in Newtown, at 7am.
Written by Talia Rinaldo