February 1, 2019
Hivesville residents went into bat for breast cancer on Sunday at their inaugural Pink Stumps Day cricket match.
The quirky event – a fundraiser for the McGrath Foundation – was organised by the Coverty Creek Community Development and Social Club.
It was held at the Hivesville Sportsground in conjunction with the monthly markets, and aimed to raise $250.
Two teams – captained by Coverty Creek’s Garin Muirhead and Cr Kathy Duff – lined up to do battle at 8:30am, using an oversized tennis ball and modified rules.
But not long into the match, Garin twisted his ankle in an on-field upset.
So Cr Ros Heit stepped forward to take his place as captain, and the match continued while Garin had his foot bandaged and joined other spectators cooling off under tents on the sidelines.
One of the spectators was McGrath Breast Care Nurse Sue Cox, who looks after patients across the region from Cooyar to Widgee.
Sue, a trained nurse who works from Kingaroy’s Community Health building, said she has been helping with the program for the past five years.
But 12 months ago she took over as the region’s McGrath Breast Care Nurse on a part-time basis from former incumbent Roslyn Melmeth, who had to travel from Toowoomba to carry out the job.
Sue currently has 119 women in her care.
“We normally get about three new referrals a month, but last month we had 15,” Sue said.
She believed this spike was due to the mobile breast screening service passing through the South Burnett.
“That’s where most of our referrals come from, and it’s a good reason for women to have regular breast screens,” Sue said.
“Roughly one-in-eight women will receive a breast cancer diagnosis at some point during their lifetime, compared to one per 100 in men.”
Sue said a diagnosis of potential breast cancer could be devastating for many women, but it need not be.
One reason was that current testing techniques were so accurate they could pick up tiny tumors the size of a grain of sand, and many of those later turned out to be benign.
But where a diagnosis turned out to be accurate, there was still every reason for hope.
“Modern medicine has made big strides, and these days 95 per cent of women diagnosed with breast cancer will survive at least five years after diagnosis,” Sue said.
Progress has been so rapid, in fact, that a complete cure could be as little as 10 years away.
And Sue should know.
She told southburnett.com.au she had lymphoma as a child, and two breast cancer diagnoses as an adult.
Those experiences have given her a deep personal insight into the stress a breast cancer diagnosis can cause, along with a genuine passion to ease concerns and smooth the path to recovery.
Sue said a lot of her work involved visiting referrals at their home or work, or simply phoning them from time to time to check they’re okay and chat about anything that’s worrying them.
McGrath Breast Care Nurses also meet women when they need to attend hospital for treatment, talking them through the process and advising them about what to expect.
Sue said medical terminology was very precise, but could often seem baffling and sometimes even frightening for many people.
So she tried to explain the process in plain English, and has found that doing this often helps put her charges’ minds at rest.
Sue praised the Coverty Creek Community Development group for holding a McGrath fundraiser, and was pleased to be invited along.
“I like to be involved in Pink Stumps community events wherever they’re held and I’m very happy to support them,” she said.
Meanwhile, out on the pitch, the sun drew steadily higher and the day hotter as the two teams wrestled one another for ultimate victory.
By about 10:30am, Cr Heit’s team was declared the winner, beating Cr Duff’s team 39 to 32.
Cr Duff said her rivals were lucky this time because her side had decided to go soft on them, but warned they wouldn’t be so charitable next year.
Cr Heit happily took up the challenge, and a double-or-nothing rematch will be held in 2020.
Bill Oberle was named the day’s top batsman, David Hunter was man of the match and Coral Graham won the wooden spoon for scoring a duck.
Thanks to a generous last-minute $50 donation from David Hunter, the day raised $300 for the McGrath Foundation.
Any women who would like to contact Sue Cox can phone her on 0467-718-068.