Pink Test more than a game for Breast Cancer
While Australia and England played out a draw in the fourth Ashes Test at the SCG, the McGrath Foundation painted the event Pink once again.
The 14th Pink Test, run in conjunction with the McGrath Foundation, shines an annual light on the importance of monitoring breast cancer and remembering those who’ve lost battles in past years.
Day three honours the fallen Jane McGrath, late wife of star Aussie fast bowler Glenn McGrath. The McGrath Foundation was set up following Jane's passing and has been linked to the New Years Test Match in Sydney ever since.
And what a mark the Pink Test has made.
It’s a match that is especially close to the heart of two inspiring individuals; Murray Conallin and Emma Reid, who both documented how breast cancer has touched their lives on FLOW FM Australia last week.
Murray lost his wife Nini to breast cancer after standing by her side in her decade long battle with the disease, while Reid is a breast cancer survivor.
Speaking on Flow last week, Conallin was joined by friends, family and supporters as he walked to the SCG from Newcastle for day one of the Ashes Test – a 150km, three-day journey.
“Instead of using the road or a perfectly good train, 25 of us decided we would walk from Newcastle, so 150k’s over three days and raising some much-needed funds and awareness for the McGrath Foundation.”
Speaking about the hardships he and his late wife endured as a result of her diagnosis, Conallin expressed why the day was so important for him.
“Back in late August I lost my wife Nini to breast cancer,” Murray said.
“She battled for 10 and a half years with it...our breast care nurse Helen, who’s been an integral part of our journey through breast cancer and without her the journey itself and just the day-to-day and the week-to-week would have been so much harder without her.”
Murray put into perspective just how rapidly the disease can impact sufferers, placing the limelight on breast cancer screening during a time when the COVID-19 pandemic dominates national conversations centred on healthcare.
“Nini wasn’t outwardly sick in the weeks leading up to the eventual diagnosis, so its kind of a confusing time as well.”
“She was fit, she wasn’t lethargic or sick or anything like that so all of a sudden your life’s tipped upside down.”
“You are learning phrases and drugs and scans and having to do appointments, you come out of it and your heads spinning, and it’s wondering ‘what’s the next thing we have to do after this?’ – it’s a confronting time.”
Emma Reid hails from Mildura in Victoria and was a 32-year-old single mother of two when she received her breast cancer diagnosis in early 2019.
Fast-forward to the present day - thankfully, Reid has successfully completed her treatment and is currently in good health.
She recounted the traumatic experience of being told she had the disease which killed 3000 Australians in 2020. Emma said her initial symptoms were not typical of what most sufferers of breast cancer describe and highlight the need for women to screen for breast cancer regularly.
“A lot of people talk about finding a breast cancer like a p-shaped lump in your breast which goes red or pimply, but mine didn’t appear like that," Emma said.
"It was actually a plaque that I found on the left-hand side of my breast that I thought felt like breast tissue, so I didn’t actually initiate anything with the GP.
“It wasn’t until one morning I noticed that there was a change in my nipple appearance, so one was slightly inverted but I thought ‘I better go to the GP and check that out."
Reid, who only discovered the McGrath Foundation after her diagnosis, now regularly touches base with the breast care nurse who provided care for her in her time of need.
While McGrath lost Jane to breast cancer in 2008 at the age of just 42, the foundation has grown into being one of the largest breast cancer support centres in Australia and has aided nearly 100,000 Australian families that have been touched by breast cancer since its inception.
Cricket Australia CEO, Nick Hockley said,
“The Pink Test at the SCG is a highlight of the year for the team and it has now become one of the biggest charitable sporting events in the world,"
"We encourage everyone to get behind the campaign this year so that together we can make a difference and provide more McGrath Foundation Breast Care Nurses to the community.”
The McGrath Foundation set the goal of selling 240,000 Virtual Pink Seats and met its target with 250,000 Virtual Pink Seats sold, raising $5m to help fund McGrath Breast Care Nurses across Australia.
Despite the fact the Pink Test is complete, those wishing to support the McGrath Foundation can still buy their virtual seat by heading to the event's website.