30 years of friendship and a shared dream

Jodie and I met over 30 years ago…. She literally burst into my life and from that moment on we were besties.  She instantly became my other half, and I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t have Jodie by my side guiding and nurturing me. I introduced Jodie to her husband Rob, we stood beside each other at our weddings, we have laughed, and we have cried together many times through the ups and downs of life. When Jodie came to me and told me she had breast cancer 14 years ago, she told me not to cry, and I remember just thinking to myself that there was no way in this world that anything was going to happen to her. I just wouldn’t let it!

Everybody deals with things differently and for me my response was to be proactive and do something.  I knew Jodie well enough to know that she likes to have goals to focus on, so as a way of giving Jodie something to look forward to, at a time when there was only medical appointments and crappy wig days, I started organising a fundraising event targeted at raising awareness for young women about breast cancer. I knew this was something Jodie was passionate about, and I knew it would make her feel like she was turning a negative situation into a positive.

Over the next few years, I organised a few fundraising events and it gave me a massive amount of satisfaction to feel like I was making a difference. The ladies of the Hawkesbury loved the events we were creating, and it became pretty clear early on that women wanted to participate and that breast cancer awareness needed to be talked about.  Women were flocking to these events and wanted to stand beside Jodie and support other women.

After many long winded, and often late-night conversations with Jodie, talking about the need to do more we started planning for the first support group meeting in the Hawkesbury, and this coincided with all the additional fundraising Jodie had been doing with her triathlons. I was contacted about organising a larger scale event and after meeting at the Hawkesbury Race Club the Pink Finss race day was born.  Little did we know that this event would go on to be a sell-out, year after year and it would become such a loved celebration 11 years on.

When we decided to set up the Pink Finss as a registered charity I was working at a law firm as a PA and juggling 2 small children at home.  For the next 9 years I worked in my “day job” and then went about doing my passion project which was Pink Finss in my spare time.  Doing the Pink Finss work always came so natural to me and the feeling I get from meeting amazing women and helping them continues to fill my heart and make me happy.

2 years ago, I quit my day job of 17 years at the law firm and became the first paid employee of the Pink Finss and that was a huge milestone for all of us. Suddenly the business went from being a “hobby we did on the side” to something real that we could focus on and grow.  Jodie’s aim has always been to want to help as many people as possible and this would allow us to do that.

I didn’t know it all those years ago but it’s clear to me now that as friends Jodie and I shared a dream and although it took an unfortunate situation like Jodie’s cancer for that dream to surface we have both gained so much as individuals and as friends having walked this path together.  What I have learnt most during this time is that a woman should always trust her intuition, and that when faced with fear women are beyond brave.  My job can be bittersweet at times but on a positive note I never take things for granted and I am reminded on a daily basis of how fragile life is, which can come in handy on those days when I think I have problems!  And it’s even more special to share this experience with friends who have the same passion about caring for others in our community. 

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