Allison is a digital reporter for the Bay of Plenty Times

Sea of pink at Tauranga Hot Pink Walk in aid of breast cancer awareness

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Huge crowd at Tauranga's annual HOT Pink Walk. Photo/George Novak
Huge crowd at Tauranga's annual HOT Pink Walk. Photo/George Novak

A sea of pink washed over downtown Tauranga last night as thousands of people came out to support the annual Hot Pink Walk.

People of all ages were decked out in glamorous pink clothes and all manner of accessories: fairy wings, feather boas, hats and crazy wigs to make strides against breast cancer - even dogs and the security guards were dressed up.

The walk was the flagship event to raise money for the Breast Cancer Support Service Tauranga Trust which provided support for men and women diagnosed with breast cancer and their families.

It was service manager Helen Alice's first Hot Pink Walk. She had only been in the job since December last year.

She was excited and thought the amount of support they received was lovely.

Dogs dressed up for the Hot Pink Walk. Photo/George Novak
Dogs dressed up for the Hot Pink Walk. Photo/George Novak

Each ticket to do the walk was $10 and the money was going directly to the services the organisation provided, such as emotional support, information to those diagnosed, a massage service, dinner delivery for those receiving treatment and counselling.

Ms Alice said the number of people the service helped varied between 160 and 200 new referrals a year but they had more than 1000 people on their database. Some people needed long-term help, others only short-term.

Doves released before a moment of silence for those lost to breast cancer at the annual HOT Pink Walk. Photo/George Novak
Doves released before a moment of silence for those lost to breast cancer at the annual HOT Pink Walk. Photo/George Novak

She said they saw some men as well, with two new referrals this year.

"Breast cancer affects all ages too. Women in their 20s through to their 80s," Ms Alice said.

The sheer number of people at the walk and the wide age range reflected breast cancer's non-discriminatory effect on people.

Sharon McAuliffe was a breast cancer survivor of one year. She missed the Pink Walk last year because she was undergoing treatment.

HOT Pink Walk L-R Sharon McAuliff and Lynda Murdoch. Photo/George Novak
HOT Pink Walk L-R Sharon McAuliff and Lynda Murdoch. Photo/George Novak

"When it's not you and you see events like the Pink Walk you always think: 'Oh yeah, I should go to that.' Then it [breast cancer] hits you and it becomes very personal," Ms McAuliffe said.

She had volunteered as a fairy for the walk, handing out chocolate and prizes, to help the organisation that was there for her when times were tough.

"The support service just do amazing things. They weren't pushy, but they were there if you needed them and a couple of times I needed them."

Samantha, 17, was there with six of her girlfriends to show support for breast cancer, after her mum was diagnosed two weeks ago.

Dressed up as fairies, each of the girls had their own stories of people they knew, or their mums knew, who had breast cancer.

They were amazed at the number of people and how full-on everyone had dressed up.

Were you at the Hot Pink Walk? Check out the live video at https://www.facebook.com/bayofplentytimes/ and try to spot yourself!

- Bay of Plenty Times

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