In 1999, the first President of the Zonta Club of Devonport Inc’s club, Dianne Gale, shared that her sister, Judith, had been diagnosed with breast cancer and required a mastectomy and chemotherapy. Judith lived in a small rural community in the far Northwest of Tasmania. The club's first Breast Cancer breakfast was initiated in response and Judith's surgeon, Dr Finkeldi, was the guest speaker.
This first breakfast was attended by 50 to 60 people and gained further momentum via publicity and community awareness from 1999 to now. This year's breakfast held on 10 April, attracted 135 guests.
The format of an early morning breakfast has continued each year and club members have involved almost thirty businesses within the local area to offer lucky door prizes and hampers of quality Tasmanian produce as incentives to enhance the profit margins to assist cancer research and support options for patients from year to year.
Guest speakers have included Leslie Young, Australian CWA president, who spoke about the issues related to women with a breast cancer diagnosis living in remote rural communities who are required to leave their families for lengthy periods to seek treatment in major cities. Guest speakers employed as community nurses, cancer screening and control services and a radiation oncologist have presented information to guests covering diverse aspects of treatment and care. Two breast cancer survivors have also shared their journeys as guest speakers.
The club has donated over $23,000 directed to Palliative Care, the Breast Cancer Council. Since 2014, members have worked closely with Tracey Beattie, a McGrath Breast Care nurse who has utilized the funding to purchase Rigon headwear, fuel and grocery vouchers for breast cancer clients with limited incomes and family support.
The breakfast involves every member of the club. Participation includes ticket selling, maintaining contact with local businesses – and in particular with Tracey Beattie – to ensure that all recipients of the profits are catered to.
The venue for the breakfast is decorated and set up by Zonta members. On the day of the breakfast, there are members who are responsible for meeting and greeting the attendees and others are involved as waitresses. There is a committee of members who oversee the overall planning and organizing of the event and proceedings on the day.
After the event, the committee members meet to discuss and share any issues that occurred with the format to ensure that every breakfast is a well-executed event from year to year.
The breakfast receives publicity from local newspapers, other service clubs and members of the Devonport City Council. Year after year, specific groups of friends, relatives and business representatives attend the breakfast to fully support the initiative.
Collectively, the members of the Zonta Club of Devonport Inc, District 23, are very proud of their commitment and support for breast cancer research and within their local communities of the North West of Tasmania.