After years of putting on lavish Pink Ribbon high teas for women, this year has special meaning for Jane Bentley.
It is her first breast cancer research fundraiser in Mangawhai, her retirement home after moving from Greenhithe 18 months ago. It was also a reason to get active again after her husband died from lymphoma last December.
“I’ll never stop grieving, but I just had to get out of my own head. I passionately believe in this cause and know how important it is to catch these things sooner rather than later,” Jane says.
Jane put on her first Pink Ribbon breakfast in 2011 in memory of her mother, who died of breast cancer. It was a small event at her home and raised $1700. It grew every year until five years later it was held in a hall and raised $17,000.
Jane admits she has to do it ‘properly’ after 20 years of corporate experience with Estee Lauder as a sales manager, often attending and hosting events for women. The cosmetic company has donated lipsticks for this year’s raffles, along with Mangawhai businesses.
“I just want everyone to have a fantastic time and go away remembering to check their breasts,” Jane says.
She encourages men to be involved, as a reminder that men play important supportive roles but can also get breast cancer themselves.
“I travelled that journey of fear, hope and despondency, and really wanted to recognise that the partners often pick up the pieces for the family torn apart during treatment.”
Jane says companionship was an important part of healing and it was a get together with a group of women a month ago who kickstarted her again.
She says a fundraiser can be as easy or as complicated as you want. Along with pink outfits and decorations, including pink bunting to tie a room together, she recommends having a clear vision of what you want to achieve and, most importantly, to have fun.
Info: Pink Ribbon High Tea, Mangawhai Senior Citizens Hall, Fagan Place, $15 entry, May 20, from 2pm-4pm.