Sunday 4th March was a very special day for Kinsale and the 750 people who participated in the first Kinsale Pink Ribbon Walk, their sponsors and supporters, the organising committee and 140 volunteers, as a staggering â‚¬100,000 was raised for Action Breast Cancer, a programme of the Irish Cancer Society.
"We are overwhelmed by this incredible amount raised by so many people, particularly in these very difficult times," said Jackie Dawson, Chairperson, Kinsale Pink Ribbon Walk Committee.
"Walkers and runners had been out training in January and February, to get fit for the 10km run/walk as well as actively fundraising online and on their sponsorship cards. On behalf of the Kinsale Pink Ribbon Walk Committee, all we can say is a huge 'Thank You' to everyone for their wonderful support and fantastic community spirit."
Following a major promotional drive, Kinsale turned 'pink' for two weeks, with a sea of bright pink flags and bunting flying throughout the town, funded entirely by our 'Pink Partner' as over 100 local businesses decorated their windows and ran pink promotions leading up to the event.
On the day, there was a fantastic atmosphere, as the bright sunshine highlighted the hundreds of bright Pink Ribbon Walk t-shirts and those in fancy dress costumes. Mayor of Kinsale, Fred Treacy, welcomed everyone to the Town Council Car Park as the event kicked off with a lively warm-up with Saran Crosbie and her 'girls' (including two imposters!) and music by DJ Anthony Collins of the White Lady.
Then, Cara O'Sullivan performed 'Stand up and Fight' which inspired walkers as they headed off on the 10km route. Fred and Irene Treacy, together with Brand Ambassadors, Cara O'Sullivan and Sharon Crosbie, cut the pink ribbon to start the Run and Walk at 12pm.
After the Walk, everyone received a Pink Ribbon walk medal and refreshments were generously provided by the Kinsale Good Food Circle with meat supplied from Barrett's Butchers, soup from Cully & Sully, cupcakes from Blackbird Bakery, fruit from Keelings and a bottle of Tipperary Active water from Gleesons. As Sharon Crosbie entertained everyone, there was a real party atmosphere in the town for the rest of the afternoon.
In the Reflection Area, every participant was given a pink ribbon and asked to write 'I'm walking for (someone' on it. This was a particularly moving part of the day and was both emotional and inspirational for many.
Thanking everyone for getting involved with the Kinsale Pink Ribbon Walk, Jackie Dawson said, "We are remembering those we have lost, we are honouring anyone undergoing treatment and we are celebrating with families and friends who have been touched by breast cancer. We are walking for a future without breast cancer.'
About Pink Ribbon Walks
The Pink Ribbon Walk is a national fundraising initiative which organises sponsored charity walks in locations around the country in aid of Action Breast Cancer, a programme of the Irish Cancer Society. The objective is to empower individuals and communities to increase breast cancer awareness, promote healthy living and raise funds for Action Breast Cancer through a fun and rewarding experience.
Since 2009, The Pink Ribbon Walks in Kells, Co Meath and Ballina/Killaloe, Co Clare have raised â‚¬400,000 for Action Breast Cancer. On Sunday 4th March, Kinsale joined this national movement and the â‚¬100,000 raised will provide a number of patient care services and vital research programmes, both nationally and in Cork.
Jackie is keen to point out that although there is an international Pink Ribbon brand (seen on sportswear and products to promote breast cancer awareness), The Pink Ribbon Walks are not a franchise, simply a fundraising event organised totally on a voluntary basis that is now growing as a national movement throughout Ireland.
"When I was approached last year by Penny McGowan, who started the Kells Pink Ribbon Walk in 2009, I thought it might be something worthwhile to organise as a group in Kinsale, as well as getting us all out walking after Christmas to raise money for Action Breast Cancer.
"The Kinsale Pink Ribbon Walk Committee is made up purely of volunteers who have given up so much of their own time and energy, to organise the event. We all have different skills and lots of energy, so it was a real pleasure to work together. From making bunting, to logistics, sponsorship and promotion as well as recruiting volunteers, registration, administration and finance - there was a job for everyone!
"We would like to acknowledge the support of all participants, sponsors, pink partners, volunteers, the Gardai, Red Cross, Civil Defence, Kinsale Athletics Club and particularly everyone who so generously donated their time and money to helping the Kinsale Pink Ribbon Walk become a successful event.
"The understanding is that participants' registration fee covers the costs of the walk, so every euro raised on their sponsorship card or online goes directly to Action Breast Cancer. Through the sponsorship of refreshments and some other expenses, we were able to donate part of everyone's registration fee to the overall total. It was both a physical and financial commitment but the enthusiasm and solidarity shown here in Kinsale has been phenomenal," added Jackie.
For updates and further information on Pink Ribbon Walks throughout Ireland, see www.pinkribbonwalk.ie or follow us on facebook www.facebook.com/pinkribbonwalk
Where Your Money GoesÂ¦
Most recent data from the National Cancer Registry shows that 3225 people were diagnosed with cancer in Cork in 2010. Cancer will affect one in three people during the course of their lifetime however more people are surviving cancer due to more people being diagnosed at an earlier stage and advances in treatment.
The Irish Cancer Society (ICS) has been developing patient care, information and support services for over 20 years and is the leading provider of cancer information in Ireland. In 2011, the ICS provided the following services:
â€¢ Specialist cancer nurses supported 22,120 callers to the ICS National Cancer Helpline in 2011 (Freefone 1800 200 700). 1009 of these calls were from people in Co. Cork.
â€¢ The ICS provided 8,110 nights of care to 2,014 families in 2011. 741 nights of care were provided in Co. Cork.
â€¢ The ICS provided financial aid to the value of over â‚¬1,062,281 in 2011. â‚¬74,300 worth of financial aid was provided to people in Co. Cork.
â€¢ The ICS distributed over 688,266 cancer information booklets and factsheets to people concerned about cancer across the country in 2011, 54,897 booklets and factsheets were distributed to people in Co. Cork.
â€¢ Daffodil Centres are an extension of the ICS's Cancer Information Services and are the first service of this kind in Ireland. There is a new Daffodil Centre in the Bon Secours Centre, Cork and one is being planned for the Cork University Hospital.
â€¢ The ICS has funded Breast cancer research to the value of â‚¬1.7 million in Irish Universities including University College Cork. This has recently shown some exciting results, including research by Dr Mark Tangney developing 'gene therapy' for breast cancer.
â€¢ More information on this research and other projects is available from the Irish Cancer Society (www.cancer.ie)