27 October 2017
Each October, Cancer Council empowers women across Australia to grab their girlfriends and host a Girls’ Night In, sending the money they would have spent on going out to women’s cancer research, prevention programs, and support services. Not only does the event raise vital funds and awareness for women’s cancers, but it also reinforces the importance of supportive relationships in times of need. Leanne Prior, a 10-time Girls’ Night In host and Cancer Council SA Ambassador, looks back on a decade of friendship, support, and fond memories.
My first Girls’ Night In event was really something that I wanted to do to say thank you to all the people who supported me throughout my initial diagnosis and recovery. I decided to organise a smallish event and had about 100+ people attend a fun lawn bowls night. I did the first year on my own with a few helpers on the day and a few who promised to help out the following year. I held them to their word, and it grew from there. Before we knew it, it had taken on a life of its own.
The women who have been with me since the beginning—primarily colleagues from the school—have been my rock. In 2012, the Principal at my school retired and stepped up to be our new ‘PA’. I also moved schools that year, developing a whole new set of connections. We could feel that something big was coming together, and we now have a committee of 18 incredible women to show for it.
I am somewhat overwhelmed and humbled that we’re now hosting our 10th Girls’ Night In event on 28 October. It’s a significant amount of work to ensure a successful night, and words can’t describe how grateful I am to these people who have made it happen over the past nine years.
Thanks to the fundraising efforts of women before me, I was able to receive effective treatment. I remind myself that without their support, I would not be where I am today. I want to ensure that women in years to come could have that same privilege of receiving the best possible treatment.
The support of people is fundamental when life hands you those testing moments. A diagnosis is a surreal experience and my family were incredibly supportive. I was unexpectedly overwhelmed by the support of my friends which is why I first wanted to do an event, as well as to educate other women about women’s cancers.
We now have a committee of the most amazing, dedicated and special friends who are connected forever. The more people we had on the committee, the more money we raised. As more and more women were welcomed into the committee, we were able to draw on their contacts and expertise.
Without their support there is no I way I could have done any of this—they are truly amazing people. The event created a sense of comradery with each other and gives us a sense of making a contribution.
I often find these events quite emotional. To have so many women in one place for one cause—and often all dressed in pink—is very special. I think that next year I will host a small Girls’ Night In here, because it’s really important for me to stay connected with the committee.
Cancer Council SA Ambassador.
Every day in Australia, around 65 women are diagnosed with breast or a gynaecological cancer. Leanne is looking to support them by reaching a cumulative total of over $100,000—a fitting figure for her 10th year. Support comes in many different forms, be it hosting, attending, or making a donation. Sometimes it’s about just being there for a friend, or pointing them in the right direction towards resources, such as up-to-date information and psychosocial support.