Rising female stars rally behind Pink Ribbon Cup week

Three rising female stars have spoken about the significance of the Pink Ribbon Cup incorporating all three codes to raise awareness of a deadly disease and potentially save lives.

For the first time in its 15-year history, the annual Pink Ribbon Cup race day at Gold Coast Turf Club has been expanded into a tri-code event that embraces three separate meetings and rebranded Pink Ribbon Raceweek.

Throwing their support behind the concept are gun apprentice jockey Angela Jones, fledgling harness trainer Bree Evans and greyhound trainer and former jockey Jemma Daley. 

Pink rugs, saddles, helmet caps and silk pants will be used at each meeting and former jockey turned greyhound trainer Daley says she became familiar with the Pink Ribbon Cup concept when she used to ride.

The charity has a significant place in Daley’s heart after two of her aunties were diagnosed with breast cancer.

“It’s great to see the initiative being shown across three codes and everyone getting on board,” Daley said.

“I’ve had two aunties diagnosed with breast cancer, so it is very close to home and these initiatives are wonderful to raise awareness of the disease and how hard it effects the families.”

Greyhound trainer Jemma Daley says she is vigilant about early detection of breast cancer after two aunties were diagnosed with the disease.

Now in her early thirties, she said she had become more mindful of breast cancer and was vigilant about any changes in her body.

“Being 33, I’m starting to creep up in age and something we have to be well aware of,” she said.

“It’s something that doesn’t effect the older generation, it’s something that can effect anyone.”

The charity’s fund raising week has brought breast cancer to the forefront of Evans’ mind, and she is proud to be able to help promote the message and raise funds for an important cause.

“It has raised my awareness and it’s something that affects many people,” she said.

“It’s a scary thing to think about, being so young.”

Boom apprentice Jones said the Pink Ribbon Cup charity would now reach more people with harness and greyhound racing codes involved.

Fledgling harness trainer Bree Evans says that even her young age, Pink Ribbon Cup week has raised her awareness of breast cancer.

The use of pink silks and rugs also helped raise the profile of the charity on race days, Jones said.

“It’s important, and with three codes instead of just one, it’s obviously going to reach out to a lot more people and more people are going to be aware of what it is about,” Jones said.

“The pink silks opens your eyes. I’ve always been curious about it.

“Probably the first year (I saw the pink silks) I didn’t really know the meaning behind it but as the years have gone on, I have become more aware of it and it definitetly is for a very good cause.”

Australia’s largest official community fund-raiser for the National Breast Cancer Foundation will start Thursday night, September 15 with a greyhound meeting at Albion Park.

The traditional Saturday afternoon ‘sea of pink’ meeting at Gold Coast Turf Club will be conducted on Saturday, September 17 while Albion Park Harness Racing Club will host a Pink Ribbon Cup meeting in the evening.

Boom apprentice Angela Jones says pink silks, rugs and caps helps bring attention to Pink Ribbon Raceweek and makes it a special occasion.

The race day charity fund-raiser started 15 years ago as a luncheon at Gold Coast Turf Club by two-time breast cancer survivor Robyn Cameron.

A business school academic at Griffith University, Ms Cameron said she was only “standing here” because of the research and dedication of those who had fought to find a cure for the disease.

“It’s all about early detection and early prevention,” she said.

“Research that has been undertaken on the effectiveness of early prevention; is the reason I’m standing here today after being diagnosed with breast cancer twice.”

Even though she was relatively young and healthy, it did not preclude her from getting breast cancer, not once, but twice.

“I didn’t smoke, I didn’t drink, I was running half-marathons and had a good diet and wasn’t overweight,” she said. 

“When I first was detected with breast cancer in my 30s, they were saying I was young to have it.

Pink Ribbon Cup founder Robyn Cameron is a two-time breast cancer survivor.

“Don’t think ‘it’ll be alright’ or that you’re too young to have it. If you find something is different, it doesn’t matter if it is a lump or anything, just go get it checked.”

According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, whose goal is zero deaths by 2030, breast cancer remains the most common cancer in Australia and 55 women and men are diagnosed with the disease every day.

Overall, one in seven women will be diagnosed in their lifetime.

Racing Queensland CEO Brendan Parnell said Ms Cameron should be proud of her initiative to start a charity of this magnitude from scratch, and to see it evolve to the point where it is now embraced by all three codes.

“It shows Robyn’s courage, passion and commitment to fight this horrible disease and we are proud to get behind Pink Ribbon Cup and all that it stands for,” Mr Parnell said.

A sea of pink silks as the field heads out of the straight at Gold Coast Turf Club in September 2021

By Darren Cartwright