Hosting a Pink Breakfast

I’ve never been much of a party planner. I’ve always been quite happy for other people to take the lead and put together gatherings, which I just attend and participate in. I’ve had birthday parties almost every year, which were never “the” party to be seen at and I am ok about that, my goal in life has never been to be as popular as possible. I enjoy the hype of parties and good ol’ shin-digs, and would always put in a lot of effort for themed or dress up celebrations. It was a good excuse to let my hair down a little, maybe cut some shapes on the d-floor. However, you wouldn’t catch me putting Party Planner on my resume, more like Party Participator.

At the start of April when I received an email from the New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation advertising May as the Pink Breakfast month, a small seed of creativity was planted in my mind. I hummed and harred, back and forth about what might be involved in organising something like a Pink Breakfast – how many people would I want to invite, can I cook breakfast for that many people, would people actually want to come and eat my cooking, would someone want to sponsor something to give away, and what about serving coffee?!

My initial idea was to have the breakfast at my house, just a couple of friends and family over for brunch, maybe out on our deck if it was warm enough and have everyone bring a plate to share. My husband sort of talked me out of this – where would everyone sit, what if it rains, you probably can’t charge them and ask them to bring food, and what about making coffee for that many people?! So my next option was approaching a café in town to see if I could rent a space for about 20 people, and could we bring our own food in but have the café supply the hot drinks? There aren’t really many places in Te Awamutu that have separate areas for private functions, so my first thought was a cute little place tucked behind the main street that you can’t really even tell is there. Introducing Walton Street, a provider of vegetarian, diet sensitive and wholesome food options, the best coffee in town and also the hipster-ist décor and team around. A quick lunchtime meeting with the owner, Carl, dramatically turned my idea of a small get together into a whole town invited brunch serving Walton Street’s fine cuisine and even an MC!

I never really put much thought into what would go on behind the scenes to create and host a successful event, while I knew it would be a lot of work I didn’t really put much thought into the whole process. I had to do some fast thinking to get the ball rolling on advertising, tickets, sponsors, a guest speaker, prizes and guests! Carl was a massive help with a lot of the above, and he had a few favours to claim, which meant a big advertisement in the local paper, the designing of the tickets and posters for free, and his wife Jo to be the MC on the morning.

The next 6 weeks seem to fly by, and within about 2 ½ weeks of selling tickets, all 56 of them had sold out. My husband and I even gave our tickets up so that a couple of people didn’t miss out – which actually worked out of the best anyway because we were both too busy to sit down to eat! It was such a good feeling knowing so many people wanted to come along and support a great cause, and I even joked that perhaps we should have held two breakfasts because we could have sold that many tickets!

We had a great bunch of sponsors come on board as well, with even a couple of people approaching ME to sponsor the event!

Below are all of the companies that donated in some way or form:

Prizes were raffled off and some were given away for winning the team quiz, and there was also a prize for best dressed.

In the week leading up to the breakfast I was feeling pretty relaxed about the preparations, and quite organized. Perhaps it was this smug feeling that everything was under control that lead me to come down with a cold on the Tuesday beforehand. Whatever the reason was, I had a day off work to try and recover but to be honest the rest of the week was pretty crappy with a blocked up nose and sore throat. I had imagined myself burning off any feelings of anxiousness with gym workouts, and basically trying to carry on as usual to not let myself get too stressed. Unfortunately this wasn’t quite the case, as there was no way I was in a position to work up an exercise caused sweat, but it did mean I drunk A LOT of lemon and honey drinks, downed as many vegetables as I could, and went to bed super early each night. It was basically one of the biggest weeks of my year, and here I was struggling to stay awake at midday each day, and trying not to pass my bugs on to anyone else!

Come the Sunday morning of the breakfast I still wasn’t feeling too flash, but adrenalin took over and I was on cloud 9. Everyone turned up pretty much on time, the food was delicious, there was a lot of chatter going on, people were LAUGHING (a sure sign of fun being had, right?!) and at the end of the breakfast I had quite a few comments that guests had learned something which is GREAT news.

Having Jessica Weller from the New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundations (and The WELLer Network) come along and share her amazingly brave story with us was such a highlight of the morning. You can learn more about Jessica here.

I also took the lime light for a brief moment, telling everyone about my BRCA1 story and my passion for living a healthy and fulfilling life. While I don’t want to preach day and night about choosing healthy food, cutting out processed crap and exercising, it was nice to mention a few key tips and habits that I’ve learned and adopted over the years. You can’t force someone to do exactly what you do, which wasn’t my intention, but you can give them real life examples of how you can be happy and healthy, without feeling like you have no social life or have to change your whole eating regime around.

Combining breast awareness with education on a healthy lifestyle was the main target of this Pink Breakfast, and I’m pretty darn happy to say this was achieved. 8 women a day are diagnosed with breast cancer, so teaching women (and men!) about what feels normal for them can be lifesaving.

If you’re thinking of hosting a Pink Breakfast next May then I say go for it. The money raised goes directly towards research and treatment for breast cancer, and it’s a great excuse to get together and talk all things boobies!

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