By Joseph Lam
Australia’s biggest morning was held at Stamford Plaza earlier today and while cancer does not discriminate on the basis of gender it appears morning teas still do.
The annual event which raised $2.2 million last year and aims for $2.5 million this year, is in its 24th year this year and as the Cancer Council continues to grow it could do with a little more help from its males.
Skye Dutson, a cervical cancer survivor and the guest speaker for the event, says one of the strongest memories she has after her battle over was just one night at the kitchen table when her husband said to her, “this has been really hard on me”.
“I think you don’t realise the impact cancer can have on those around you,” she said.
“I think it takes a community to fight and support someone with cancer. It’s not just your you, your kids or your family.”
For Skye, the Cancer Council was one of few limited resources in Australia for cancer victims and says their help was priceless.
With larger goals in mind, Cancer Council CEO Sanchia Aranda says targeting more men this year through volunteering roles like transport and venturing away from the cities were two key factors.
“I guess the significance this year is we’ve tried to spread it out more into our regional areas.”
“Morning teas are traditionally things that ladies do, but increasingly we find the guys getting involved with things and quite proudly,” said Aranda.
She notes a group of men from a local men’s shed in Magnetic Island who were hosting a tea with 400 people as well as a group in Moura which host one of the biggest events in the state having raised $30,000.
Two of the three male attendees from this morning, Michael Potts and Peter Hadfield, are both retirees who are more than happy to support.
While Peter has not been directly affected by cancer his friend Michael has had a long history of cancer in his family, with both of his in-laws passing away to cancer and his mother suffering a melanoma.
Peter notes compared to events like the Police Post Traumatic Stress Disorder there’s a relatively small male turnout which might be because of the time day when most men work.
Both men acknowledged there’s a need for more men to get behind the morning tea and help raise funds for a much needed caused.
Channel 7 weather presenter Tony Auden was one of this morning’s hosts, admitting he wouldn’t be surprised if he was one of, if not the only, blokes at the event.
Auden says there’s definitely a few blokes who wouldn’t mind putting on a suit and enjoying some high tea but there’s definitely room for expansion whether it’s a slightly different theme or combining another event in, too.
Of the several volunteers from Suncorp Insurance who had put there hand up to help sell raffle tickets and assist with the general flow of the event, there was just one male volunteer, Brad Crowe.
Brad Crowe, whose mother passed away from cancer, also says more men need to get behind the event.
“They need to come, just come and be a part of these things because we need more support.”