14 May 2016
With her father-in-law diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012, Renee Mangan encourages anyone who notices a change in their body to get checked out, and seek a second opinion if they aren’t happy.
Renee, a 33 year old payroll officer and full-time mum to two kids, will host her third Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea at the Glenelg Surf Club on the Tuesday 24 May.
Her father-in-law, Gerry, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012, and inspired her to host her first morning tea in 2014.
“The first was a pretty small affair—around 45 people at a local hall. Mainly my girlfriends, family and kids. We catered for ourselves, made coffee and had a few small raffles. I think we raised just over $1,000 with online donations so that was the beginning,” Renee said.
She hosted again in 2015, with friends volunteering to help organise the event.
“We hosted almost 140 people at the Glenelg Football Club raising over $4,000 with online donations. The raffle was spectacular, and we invited around 20 small business owners that set up stalls around the border of the room.”
Renee explains her motivation for getting involved with Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea again this May.
“The work that Cancer Council achieve—seeking new treatments, researching the disease, understanding a cancer patients physical and emotional needs, providing information, creating awareness and offering support— means my father-in-law is still around! He gets to see his grandchildren grow up, and my kids get their Poppa around that much longer,” she said.
“Three years later he's travelling the country by caravan with his wife/best friend/chief nagger-reason-he-got-checked-out-in-the-first-place wonderful grandma to my kids. We couldn't be more grateful for the work Cancer Council does.”
Gerry was diagnosed with breast cancer after he persisted with doctors about a discomfort in his left armpit.
“Their family doctor dismissed the symptoms pretty quickly,” Renee recalls.
“They saw other medical professionals, and finally some tests revealed something more sinister than first thought. Breast cancer.”
Having undergone surgery and treatment, Gerry has gotten the ‘all-clear’ from his specialists, and is living life to the fullest with his wife, Jo.
“At the end of his treatment…his specialists were pleased with the results.”
“He’s living an amazing life…that’s why I’m so passionate about Cancer Council,” Renee says.
With an estimated 1 in 2 Australians to be diagnosed with cancer by the age of 85, Renee hopes to bring awareness to the cause and urges everyone to see their doctor at the first sign of any changes in their bodies, particularly men.
While it might seem embarrassing, early detection can improve one’s chance of survival. Cancer does not discriminate against gender.
Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea is one of Cancer Council’s leading annual fundraising events. Now in its 23rd year, the official event date is Thursday, 26 May, and morning tea fundraisers can be hosted throughout May and June.
Renee strongly encourages everyone to host a morning tea this May.
“It's easy to put a small one together at work or with friends—it's amazing to put a bigger one together. You witness first-hand the generosity of your local community in action…for a great cause,” she said.
Cancer Council SA Chief Executive, Lincoln Size, said Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea is a fun way for Australians to support Cancer Council.
“This May and June many people from across Australia will be getting together to share a cup of tea and support those affected by cancer. A morning tea is a great way to get family, friends, colleagues or even community together for a good cause,” Mr Size said.
“I encourage everyone to get involved, whether it be hosting a morning tea, attending an event or making a donation or purchasing a piece of merchandise.
“Cancer Council SA is hoping to raise over $1.3million ($13.8m nationally) through 4,000 South Australian hosts.
“All funds raised through Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea help fund Cancer Council’s life-saving cancer research, prevention programs, and support services for cancer patients and their families.”