A Pink Ribbon Breakfast Veteran - 10 Stories, 10 Years • Breast Cancer Foundation NZ
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A Pink Ribbon Breakfast Veteran

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This year marks Barbara’s tenth Pink Ribbon Breakfast! She shares a decade of wisdom with her ten top tips.

Barbara Manning, from Brown’s Bay, Auckland, is an old hand at hosting Pink Ribbon Breakfasts – she’s gearing up to hold her 10th one this May! She has raised around $4000 for Breast Cancer Foundation NZ over the years, mostly by hosting guests at her place. She’s enjoyed the excuse to have fun with friends while helping to support a great cause for the past decade. She also takes immense satisfaction from the fact that at one of her events, a guest’s life was saved.

“I invited a new friend I’d made at the gym. She was 73 years old, and she told us she’d never had a mammogram. We badgered her to get one, which she did. Just three weeks later she was having a full mastectomy,” says Barbara.

Barbara has experienced breast cancer herself. It’s a disease that runs in her family: her father had three sisters who all died of breast cancer. She started having regular mammograms in her 30s and she remained clear until 10 years ago, when a mammogram led to an ultrasound that detected stage 3 cancer which had spread to the lymph nodes.

Barbara underwent a partial mastectomy followed by radiotherapy, for which she travelled to Hamilton. Two years ago she tested positive for the BRCA gene and had surgery a year ago to remove her ovaries and fallopian tubes.

Despite her own tribulations, she has managed to host a Pink Ribbon Breakfast event every year since the event began a decade ago. Last year she chose May 14th, Mother’s Day, for her morning tea. She hosted around 20 guests who enjoyed pink-themed food and a special lucky dip.

Here are her Top Ten Tips for a successful Pink Ribbon Breakfast:

1. Invite twice as many people as you would like, as for one reason or another some people don’t come

2. Invite ladies who are passionate about the cause.

3. Don’t over-cater! Ladies just like to have something with their coffee/tea

4. Make a pink centrepiece (last year’s invention: a pink cake with a cylinder cut out of the middle and a piece left for the top and the cake filled with pink jellybeans – so that when it was sliced the sweets tumbled out)

5. A small PINK gift for everyone (from K-Mart and $2 shop). This encourages people to donate!

6. Cranberry juice (if you don’t want to serve wine)

7. If you have friends who have had breast cancer, invite them and ask them to say a few words about their experience

8. Ask your guests to wear something pink (this can be quite amusing - a friend came one year with a pink plastic bag over her)

9. Games are a bit ho-hum. I find that ladies prefer to interact

10. A light lunch can be a change from breakfast
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