While numbers were smaller than what was hoped for for Saturday night's Pink Up Parkes Charity Dinner, it is by no means a reflection of a lack of support for the campaign.
(min cost $8)
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It has been quite the opposite, say Pink Up Parkes chair Carolyn Rice OAM and Parkes McGrath Foundation Breast Care Nurse Dianne Green.
The Pink Up Parkes committee hosted the charity dinner as one of the final and major fundraisers for the month-long campaign that came to a close on Tuesday.
It attracted 90 guests to the Parkes Services Club and featured lucky door prizes, raffles and an auction, as well as live entertainment by Gracey Denham-Jones.
Carolyn said it was a lovely night, with the auction going very well and providing plenty of entertainment too.
The committee is still yet to tally the final fundraising figure from the night but they hope to reveal the money raised, including funds from throughout the month from all the businesses, community groups and individuals involved, very soon.
Saturday night also included some special speeches from breast cancer survivors - Carolyn herself and Cath Littlewood - and Parkes and the district's Breast Care Nurse Dianne Green.
Carolyn wanted to highlight just how important it was and the enormous need for the town to support the McGrath Foundation and Dianne.
Her story came from a time before there was a McGrath Foundation Breast Care Nurse in Parkes and the struggles and unknown territory she faced.
Whereas Cath's very raw and heartfelt journey was about what it was like having a Breast Care Nurse by her side.
"I was on the [Lachlan] Health Council where for years we advocated for a Breast Care Nurse and asked why we couldn't have one," Carolyn said, who is the current chair of the health council.
"We went to health service management right through to NSW Health. We were told we weren't eligible and we didn't have the numbers."
It wasn't until Carolyn was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009 that she personally was asking the question too. She didn't know what to do or who to go to.
"I said to them 'I can't understand why we can't have one'," Carolyn said.
"I went to my local doctor because I needed to know who to go to but he didn't know, he said I needed to find a specialist and to come back and tell him so he could refer me.
"I left not even knowing who to go to to get a surgeon or a specialist... I was so stunned and stressed about it.
"That's how we got a McGrath Foundation nurse.
"That's why it's so important to support the McGrath Foundation because I know how different the journey can be without a McGrath Foundation nurse, that's why we need one."
Dianne, a former community nurse, started as a McGrath Foundation Breast Care Nurse two years later in 2011.
Fully funded by the McGrath Foundation, Dianne started off three days a week. Her contract is renewed every three years and over time they saw she needed another day.
She now has a permanent five-day contract.
"There wasn't a lot of communication like there is now," Carolyn said.
"We're the only town outside a larger city like Orange and Dubbo who has a nurse with a five-day commitment.
"We're fortunate to have Dianne full-time, we certainly have the numbers.
"This is how important it is for the community to know the value they have in Dianne Green."
Dianne organises everything from specialists to accommodation.
"I coordinate the care, I make sure they're where they need to be and that they're treated in the time frame they need to be," Dianne said.
"I also do a lot of education and advocating.
"It might look like a lot of hand-holding but it's so much more than that. It's not until it happens to you that you notice the difference."
Carolyn also wanted people to know the different between the McGrath Foundation and the Breast Cancer Network of Australia.
"The Breast Cancer Network of Australia supports research, whereas the McGrath Foundation's soul purpose is to find and fund Breast Care Nurses," she said.
Its key aim is to have 250 nurses Australia-wide by 2025, Dianne said they are currently at 204.
Dianne has been overwhelmed and comforted by the support she's seen from the town during this year's Pink Up Parkes campaign, and when it was held in 2019 too.
"For me as a McGrath Foundation nurse the sheer fact that everyone got behind it and made the effort honestly makes me so proud," she said.
"This year I went to pharmacy talks, morning and afternoon teas and invited to a nursing home... I didn't have to drive it which was very humbling to see.
"To drive down the main street and see the shops in pink was a lovely thing, and it's not the easiest time in retail.
"If [the McGrath Foundation] wasn't there, there would be no Breast Care Nurses."
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