Morning tea with an important message

Lynlee Baldwin, Becky Pratt and Karen Webb at Killara Estate Winery. 198652 Picture: JED LANYON

By Jed Lanyon

For the last 14 years, Karen Webb has been hosting the Pink Ribbon morning tea, while raising important funds for the Cancer Council.

In what started out as a small event in the staffroom of her son’s primary school, the morning tea now hosts over 150 guests and has raised over $200,000.

Breast cancer survivor Becky Pratt will be speaking at the morning tea, which will be held at Seville’s Killara Estate Winery on 15 October.

Ms Pratt was empowered to share her story after being misdiagnosed on two occasions before being told she had stage three breast cancer.

“It’s about being with people who understand. I felt like something was wrong and people were telling me it’s fine,” she said.

“For me it’s about standing up and making people listen when you think that there is something wrong with your body.

“My lump was at eight centimetres and people were telling me not to worry about it.

“Now I’ve had to have a full mastectomy. I struggle with looking in the mirror. So if I can get that message out there and help other people’s push, then I think that’s important.”

According to the Cancer Council, screening mammograms are often less reliable for women under 40 years of age as the density of breast tissue in younger women often makes it difficult to detect cancers on mammograms.

“I’ve heard so many other stories since my own story where people just brush it off and say, ‘no, it’s not cancer, you’re too young to have cancer.’ I hear that all the time,” Ms Pratt said.

Ms Pratt said she hopes to raise awareness to young people about the condition, as she was diagnosed at the age of 30.

“I’ve met a 19 year old who has had a double mastectomy because she had breast cancer.

“Nineteen. Not forty, not fifty, not sixty.”

Ms Pratt first attended the Pink Ribbon morning tea last year after being invited by two of her cousins.

“I was completely bald… I was still going through chemo but I could feel that love and support.”

Ms Webb explained her motivations behind founding the morning tea 14 years ago, an event she describes as a ‘morning of indulgence’.

“I thought it was a really good cause and something that I was capable of doing. That’s basically where it started, not that I knew anyone at that time that had breast cancer.

“But it just resonated with me and it felt like something that I needed to do.”

Last year alone, the morning tea raised over $30,000 with that figure growing each year.

“I don’t want to put an expectation that we have to raise ‘X’ amount of money, because it’s not always about the money.

“It’s about getting women out there who may have never checked their breasts, they may not have ever thought that anything was wrong.

“You’ve got to look at the overall picture of why we’re doing it, and it’s not always money based… But if we have helped someone along the way, then that is more important to me than anything.

For more information about Cancer Council’s Pink Ribbon or to donate, visit: https://www.cancer.org.au/get-involved/events/cancer-council-pink/.

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