Dancing Queens at the Pink Breakfast

By Neena Badhwar

It is a highly emotional, cathartic meeting of minds, hearts and soul. It is the Pink Breakfast commune seven years in the running donating all its proceeds for the sake of breast cancer in women whose numbers rise as years pass. Says Dr. Rosy Khuma, Indian Counsul General of Sydney, Vanlal Vawna’s wife, a strong supporter of the event, in her audio visual presentation of the stats on breast cancer, “It hits one in every eight women.” Even men can get it too but their numbers are much lower 1 in 715. “In 2016, breast cancer was the fourth leading cause of cancer death in Australia. During 2016, it was also the 2nd most common cause of death from cancer among females.”

Dr. Khuma stresses that we in the Indian subcontinent must get regular check ups as early detection can save lives.  In 2018, it is estimated that 18,235 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in Australia, as Khuma shows slides after slides to prove the point and adds that lifestyle changes, diet, exercise can really help, even herbs like turmeric.


Its an empathetic meet where people relate their stories, standing poignant and stoic, some who have survived the ordeal, others who have been recently diagnosed and are under treatment either the chemo or radio, one brave girl among us is Anita Sharma who says she was shocked   when diagnosed only four months ago, but in front of the audience picks up courage to tell her story. Meena Mohanty also talks about her fight for survival and Sue Advani one of the organisers who had chemo just two days ago yet conducts the program with great positive spirit, one wonders how, “It’s my grand daughter who I have brought along today,” says Sue proudly.

Audience all dressed in various hues of Pink make the hall smile as Rekha Rajvanshi another organiser emcees the event calling Geoff Lee, NSW MLA Parramatta; Julie Owen, Federal Labor MP, Durga Owen, Labor Candidate for the seat of Seven Hills and Judy Mckay, NSW MLA Strathfield whose voice breaks as she speaks. They have all taken time off their busy schedules and talk about cancer in their families, some who survived, others who did not only because they did not get their mammograms on time. Shantha Viswanathan, who has been working with community led initiative led by NSW Multicultural Health Communication Services in 2014 about breast check up awareness in the Indian subcontinent community,   the Pink Sari Inc. is now carrying the work forward, “I am proud to say that the campaign which started has now turned into a movement with events like the Sari Lovers Meet, and the Pink Breakfast, of course, we are all together in our fight to survive.”

A researcher from the university of Western Sydney, Lalitha is trying to enrol women who are going through cancer to record the lived experiences of women.   The kind of social support they have or they lack while going through cancer treatment. The study aims at clinical recommendations to inform the authorities what kind and the levels of support women of Indian origin may need. Lalitha can be contacted on 0452 590 536.

While there are around 150 ladies attending the event one can see few men as well in the crowd who have come to support the cause. There are many, many raffle prizes donated by generous community members as well as businesses. There is a fashion parade at the end organised by beautiful Shikha Kaushik and her gorgeous girls who sashay in Indian as well as western outfits.

Its time to dance, yes the journey is difficult for ladies going through cancer treatment, agreed, yet ladies in Pink bring smile on all those who need support, hug, pray while they cry and laugh together.

And to You, you may have a scarf over your head but you look beautiful, You can dance, You can jive, Everything is fine and will be, be assured these angels in pink promise, because You are the Dancing Queen.

Pic Courtesy: Harmohan Singh Walia of Desi Australia




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