By Jodi Bryant

Guys and gals, children and dogs – it's almost time to dig out your pink attire and limber up for the annual Pink Loop Walk.

After raising over $20,000 from the previous two events since its inception by the Breast Cancer Support Northland Trust (BCSNT), the annual fundraiser is steadily gaining traction.

BCSNT committee member Melanie Waldron says the idea three years ago was to raise both funds for and awareness of the charity.

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"We wanted to raise awareness in the hope that, when a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer, she knows to come to us for support. We are a local, independent charity and all our funds come through the community in the way of donations or fundraising and 100 per cent of the money stays in our community supporting our local women."

The October 21 event encompasses Whangarei's popular and scenic Hatea Loop Walkway, beginning and ending at the Canopy Bridge, where a warm-up will take place around 9am with the owner of Curves gym. At 9.30am, the Northland Nightmares Roller Derby league will lead the way and, along the loop, will be lots of music and entertainment with food and refreshments available to purchase. Following the walk, a prize giving will be held, along with an auction run by Eves Real Estate alongside further entertainment, food and beverages.

"This is a fun, family event for anyone and everyone! Prams, bikes, skates, mobility scooters are all welcome. There are lots of best-dressed prizes – even for best wheels and best-dressed dog!" says Melanie, adding that each year sees a good turn-out of men who seem to excel at dressing up.

Items to be auctioned have been donated from local businesses and will be showcased on the Pink Loop Fundraiser Facebook page prior to the event.

"We are still looking for more donated items, if any businesses would like to support us, and we would like to say a big thank you to our major sponsors as, without them, this is not possible."

She says the first year 'blew us away' with over 400 participants and the committee are now hoping to double that.

"This year we have made a few changes. As well as starting and ending at the Canopy Bridge, as opposed Te Matau a Pohe Bridge like the previous years, we have also teamed up with TRG imaging with a focus on screening for breast cancer with regular mammograms and early detection."

The proceeds from previous events have gone towards 'Helping Hands', which offers meals and financial contributions, to, so far, over 50 Northland recipients.

This year, the money raised will be used to expand this initiative and fund an Annual Retreat for women who have been through breast cancer. The retreat offers a weekend of relaxation, pampering, support and companionship.

To register for the Pink Loop Walk, go to www.breastcancernorthland.co.nz or register on the day.

While registering online, participants have the option of selecting a local school to be in to win a $1,000 prize package. The winning school will be chosen based on the number of entries per school roll ratio. The prize package includes $500 for the school to use for printing needs from JOP and $500 worth of groceries from Pak'nSave Whangarei.

Other sponsors include Eves Real Estate Whangarei, Kia and Isuzu Northland. For further information, contact: pinkloop@breastcancernorthland.co.nz