Articles and Case Studies

Think Pink Foundation

11 Dec 2012

Helping breast cancer patients and their families now. In practical ways.

The Think Pink Foundation is an independent, volunteer based charity whose focus is to raise funds to support breast cancer patients. Their mission is to enable a better journey through breast cancer for patients, their families and carers and they provide a comprehensive range of practical support services including counseling and a wig salon.

Think Pink Foundation Chair, Irene Hendel sits down to tell us more about the Foundation, how it is different to other charities and the latest initiative making a difference to the lives of breast cancer patients.

How did your association with the Think Pink Foundation begin?

Think Pink was initially a Committee of the Cancer Council Victoria and a close friend of mine, Di Rose was the Chair at that time. Di invited my husband David and I to join in 2001 and I became Chair in 2004. In September 2006, David and I formed our own independent Charitable Foundation which we called The Think Pink Foundation with its own independent manifesto of activities and charter.

As well as Chair of the Foundation, you are also the Founder of the Living Centre. Where did the inspiration for a non-clinical based centre for people with breast cancer arise from?

When I had my second encounter with breast cancer in 2004 I received radiotherapy treatment at The William Buckland Radiotherapy Centre at Melbourne's Alfred Hospital. Each day for seven weeks, I sat with the same women in the waiting room and I noticed how many of them were young, were alone and needed support and assistance. It was then that my dream to have a special place where patients, their families and carers could go to receive support and practical assistance was formed. It took six years to establish our Foundation and raise sufficient funds to develop and open the Living Centre which was officially opened by The Hon Daniel Andrews M.P. on 9 September, 2010.

What is the role of the Living Centre?

The Living Centre is a state of the art facility dedicated to providing emotional, practical and physical support to women and men diagnosed with breast cancer, their families and carers. The Living Centre focus is wellness, not illness. Our goal is to support and empower patients.

The Living Centre is unique because we offer services to breast cancer patients totally free of charge, at any stage of their journey and we offer a comprehensive range of support services, many of which are not available elsewhere – all in a non-clinical environment. We accept referrals from all major hospitals and treatment centres and we also have an emergency accommodation apartment for VPTAS qualified patients who are travelling to Melbourne from rural Victoria to receive their treatment.

The first Living Centre is now operational in Melbourne & has been since 2010. It must be extremely gratifying to see your idea come to fruition?

Indeed it is. It took years of fundraising work, dedication, planning and the assistance of many supporters and sponsors to make the Living Centre a reality. We are extremely proud of the facility as it is unique in Australia and despite our relatively limited resources, we are the only breast cancer charity to have created a facility with such a broad range of services.

Do you have plans for more Living Centres?

The Living Centre model has now been firmly established and its programs and procedures refined at our first centre in Melbourne. During the first two years of its operation, The Living Centre has provided care, nurture and support to breast cancer patients on over 2600 occasions. Each contact with a breast cancer patient is handled with warmth and sensitivity.

Now that our Foundation has the first Living Centre to demonstrate the effectiveness, efficiency and delivery of our services to breast cancer patients, we are seeking broader philanthropic and government support in order to duplicate this vital facility in all major capital cities around the country. In the longer term, we hope to also create Living Centres in all major regional centres in all States of Australia.

Millions of dollars are made available for breast cancer research each year. How is the Think Pink Foundation different to other "breast cancer cause" charities?

No doubt every one reading this has been touched by the effects of breast cancer. If not a member of your family, you will know of someone's mother, daughter, sister, wife or best friend who has been affected by this disease. One in eight Australian women is.

Whilst research is continuing in the quest for a cure, there are very real needs for those women now living the fight for survival. When you are undergoing chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy, it's hard to hold down a job. The bills continue to roll in. The struggle to live is compounded by the struggle to survive.

Our charter is to help these women and their families now and in practical ways. Simply put, we focus all of our energies and passion to enable a better journey for women with breast cancer, many of whom are in desperate need.

The Think Pink Foundation is a volunteer based charity. So how important is the support you receive from organisations like MDA National?

The Think Pink Foundation relies on the generosity of philanthropically minded companies and individuals many of whom have been long term supporters of Think Pink.

Our major fundraising event for the year is our annual Think Pink Masquerade Ball which is held each May. MDA National is one of only four major sponsors of our Masquerade Ball, and its support over the last three years has been pivotal in ensuring the financial success of this gala event. MDA National has also provided in-kind support to our Foundation in other ways as well.

It is only through the generosity of organisations such as MDA National that our Foundation has been able to establish the Living Centre. The Centre provides our clients with a dedicated a full time Breast Care Nurse who can devote as much time as is required by each patient without limitations on the length or number of visits.

You mentioned your annual fundraising Masquerade Ball. How can readers get involved?

Buy a ticket and come along! The date for our 16th Masquerade Ball is 18 May 2013 and ticket sales will commence early next year via our website at www.thinkpink.org.au.

Are there other ways to help support the work of the Think Pink Foundation & the Living Centre?

If you feel you would like to help our team at The Think Pink Foundation you can become involved in many different ways and we invite you to participate and contribute in any one or more of the following:

  • Become a Think Pink Partner

There are several levels of sponsorship that you can undertake with our Foundation. Whether you are part of a large national organisation, a medium-size private enterprise or you are simply a caring individual, we have a suitable partnership level for you.

Simply call our Managing Director, David Hendel who will be pleased to discuss the possibilities with you. Contact (03) 9820 2888 or email at dhendel@thinkpink.org.au.

  • Become a Think Pink Donor

The Think Pink Foundation is an independent, fully tax-deductible charitable organisation endorsed as a "Deductible Gift Recipient" by the Australian Tax Office and all donations over $2.00 are tax deductible.

The simplest way to make a donation is online at our website at www.thinkpink.org.au.

Every Dollar You Donate Counts.

At The Think Pink Foundation we ensure that every dollar you donate is spent efficiently and effectively. Our Foundation only has three full time equivalent employees, one of whom is fully sponsored by Freemason's Victoria. We have a team of over 20 volunteer therapists and consultants who facilitate our extensive range of programs, many of which are not available elsewhere. We ensure every possible expenditure item is minimised and wherever possible, donated free of charge. This ensures that the maximum possible percentage of every dollar you donate helps support people with breast cancer.

 

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