Canberra locals are banding together to make a pink pledge and dye their hair tomorrow, Thursday 3 June, to raise awareness of and money for breast cancer in men.
Following Steve Hall’s breast cancer diagnosis in March this year, his wife Alison and younger sister Leanna Graham will be going pink in style with the support of Creative Image Hair, Kambah.
Mr Hall is no stranger to cancer as he fights his fourth different diagnosis in his lifetime.
Diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at 14, he went onto being diagnosed with Leukaemia at 16, when he received a life-saving bone marrow transplant. At the age of 33, Mr Hall had a Squamous Cell Carcinoma removed from his tongue.
At the age of 40, Mr Hall has just finished his third round of chemotherapy to fight breast cancer and has three more rounds to go.
Mr Hall said he was aware men could be diagnosed with breast cancer, but even following his previous battles, he never thought it would happen to him.
“I had a little lump on my breast that had been there for about 10 years and the doctors knew about it… it had always been a minor thing that you keep an eye on.”
“It had grown over the last two years and 18 months ago I had an ultrasound on it which still showed it to be benign but it kind of changed in the last three months … we had further biopsies and within pretty much a week I was seeing a breast surgeon and having a full mastectomy,” he said.
According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, one in 716 men are diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, with an estimated 150 Australian men diagnosed each year.
While the diagnosis was a shock to the family, Mrs Hall said she knew breast cancer in men existed.
“We kept on joking that men don’t have boobs,” she said. “But it is a very real thing and men do have the same breast tissue … I guess most of the time it’s always someone’s mum or auntie that you hear about.”
When Mrs Hall mentioned going pink to raise money for breast cancer research, Ms Graham jumped at the opportunity to help her brother.
She said she’s nervous about dying her hair but wants to raise awareness to help anyone fighting breast cancer.
“As family members, it’s very hard to see your loved one go through it and for Steve it’s not his first time,” said Ms Graham.
“It’s a small thing we can do … I haven’t personally coloured my hair in eight years so this feels like a big, big deal, but it’s nothing compared to what Steve’s going through what others that are battling breast cancer at the moment.”
Taking place at Creative Image Hair in Kambah, the Go Pink campaigners have recruited other members of the community to their cause.
Teresa Pulli from Creative Hair Image said that when Ms Graham approached her about being involved, she was “excited” to be able to support those who are fighting and surviving breast cancer, like her mother and sister.
“Both are survivors. Now, over 10 years ago, both my mum and my sister had it in the one year. So that was a bit drastic for us,” she said.
“I’ve been here for 26 years and I’ve known Leanna for about 20 of those years and watched her children grow up as well so when she contacted me, I said I would love to be involved.”
As dye day approaches, Mr Hall said the event is important not only for raising funds but to highlight the need for support for men who are diagnosed.
He said that while he was going through his mastectomy, the packages and the comfort pillows that where supplied were targeted at women, with little being offered for men.
“They were beneficial for me, in my case, but even when I was talking to the oncologist, she apologised when she was doing the diagram; she said ‘Sorry, we only have pictures of female breasts but just picture it as a male breast, but we do have to do something about this’,” he said.
“Also, the importance is if there is anything changing around the breast, get to a GP and get things checked out as early as possible.”
Pink Party – Thursday 3 June from 5pm at Creative Image Hair, Boddington Cres, Kambah.
Don your best pink outfit and join in as they Colour It Pink for the National Breast Cancer Foundation Go Pink campaign!
There will be pink food and drinks, raffles and a chance to colour yourself pink too.
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