To anyone who has ever bought a Pink Bun from Bakers Delight: I, Lyn Swinburne, would like to personally extend my warmest and most sincere thanks from the bottom of my heart.
It may seem strange, bizarre even, that I am thanking you for buying a freshly baked, delicious treat but I mean it, because if you are someone who has purchased one of the 5 million Pink Buns that have been sold by Bakers Delight over the last ten years through their Pink Bun Campaign each May, you may not realise the effect your purchase can and has had.
Let me explain. My name is Lyn Swinburne and I am a breast cancer survivor, mother of two, wife of one and teacher to many. In 1993, after getting my two young children settled in primary school, I decided to go back to work teaching. However during my first week back I noticed an area of my breast that was different. I had it checked out and soon after I was told over the phone by my doctor’s receptionist that not only did I have breast cancer, but that I was down for surgery in a few days’ time.
What a scary time that was! Suddenly a dark shadow hovered over our family and I was worried sick that my children would grow up without a mother. It wasn’t long before I realised there was no decent system of support and care in place for women living with breast cancer. All the focus seemed to be on the tumour and not on the woman herself!
I began speaking to other women I came across who’d had breast cancer and we all agreed it could be, and must be, done better. We didn’t know what caused breast cancer but surely it was crucial to look after the ones affected. After a lot of treatment which included surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and hormone therapy, I worked hard to get this concept moving and with the help of other women to establish Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA). It was challenging because I was a teacher and not a business guru!
Very luckily for me, my path re-crossed Lesley and Roger Gillespie (founders and joint CEOs of Bakers Delight), whose daughter Elise I had taught years before. When they heard what I was working to achieve for other women and families, they immediately wanted to help! Without a second’s hesitation, they offered me space in their building for an office and heaps of practical support like furniture, computers, phones, IT support, meeting rooms, access to their corporate networks and so much else. We had no overheads and could focus on what was really important – helping women with breast cancer and improving the system.
15 years since moving into that office, Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA) has, and continues to support, hundreds of thousands of Australians through their journey with breast cancer. I’m also proud to say that BCNA is still sharing the same office with Lesley and Roger. The big difference is we now have 40 staff and countless volunteers working there!
Through a shared vision and generosity from Bakers Delight, their 600 stores, 12,000 bakery staff and all their customers across Australia who have supported the Pink Bun campaign each May, they have raised more than $15 million dollars, 100% of which has been donated straight to BCNA. The funds support the work we do to inform, support, represent and connect women living with breast cancer – and for that I cannot be thankful enough.
BCNA also recently reached an impressive milestone – sending out our 100,000th My Journey Kit to a newly diagnosed Australian woman. The My Journey Kit is an invaluable resource for those diagnosed with breast cancer and this milestone would not have been possible without the generosity of Bakers Delight which helps fund the My Journey Kit and our other resources and programs.
Looking back on how difficult my own experience of breast cancer was, it will come as no surprise when I say that genuine support is one of the most important and special gifts you can ever give or receive. BCNA supports women affected by breast cancer, the Gillespies supported me when I needed it, and Bakers Delight and its customers support BCNA.
So in May when you walk past your local Bakers Delight, take a moment to think about the thousands of women that you will be supporting by picking up just one Pink Bun! I thank YOU!
Lyn Swinburne is the founder of Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA), the peak national organisation for Australians personally affected by breast cancer.
If you or someone you care about has recently been diagnosed with breast cancer, contact BCNA for a My Journey Kit, a free information resource for newly diagnosed women – 1800 500 258 or www.bcna.org.au