Pink Ribbon: Part 1

Don't forget to fall in love with yourself first (29)

In our post “Giving back is selfish“, we briefly discussed the mental and physical benefits that can be reaped from the act of “giving back.”  Here’s a brief recap because this is an important one, folks!

  • Giving back can generate feelings of self-worth and a great deal of fulfillment;
  • Giving is said to raise your happiness more than if you invested that effort/money into yourself.  Research suggests that giving may improve physical health and longevity as it helps to decrease stress, which is associated with a plethora of health problems;
  • Giving also promotes cooperation and social connection. When you give, you’re more likely to get back: when you give to others, your generosity is likely to be rewarded by others down the line—sometimes by the person you gave to, sometimes by someone else.  These exchanges promote a sense of trust and cooperation that strengthens our ties to others—and we all know that having positive social interaction is central to good mental and physical health;
  • Giving also evokes gratitude – both when you’re on the giving or receiving end of a gift, and it is widely known and accepted that gratitude is integral to happiness, health, and social bonds.

Last month, with three of our girlfriends, Bec and I got to experience some of these benefits firsthand when we held our Pink Ribbon High Tea to raise money for the New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation!

The 5 hosts
Tits and Giggles Pink Ribbon High Tea Hosts 2017: Rachel, Emma, Bec, Krystal and Soph.  Photo Credit: @hikelsyscott

Our event was a huge success with over $4K raised for the NZBCF.  A couple of months ago when Bec and I were first toying with the idea of hosting a Pink Ribbon event, we cautiously set our fundraising target at $500, which seemed like a pretty hefty amount at the time.  We were hoping to host about 20 of our close friends at Bec’s house for brunch and we tentatively guesstimated that they would donate between $10 and $20 each.  THEN we had the idea of approaching local businesses and organisations for sponsorship in the form of merchandise which we could bung together as a raffle prize.  We figured if we sold enough tickets, we could maybe make an extra couple of hundred bucks!  – Because every last dollar really does count.

We wanted to support the NZ Breast Cancer Foundation because breast cancer is the type of cancer which women are most affected by in New Zealand.  If you are a lady, this is the type of cancer that is most likely to kill you.  Gnarly fact of the day, right?  Each day 8 NZ women are diagnosed with breast cancer, and we lose 600 women each year to the disease.  Even gnarlier, huh?  The NZBCF’s vision is ZERO DEATHS FROM BREAST CANCER which we think is amazing.  A lot of this begins with raising awareness about breast cancer, because if found early, chances of survival are much higher.  Alarmingly, 60% of young women do not know the signs of breast cancer beyond a lump – Bec and I included – when we first set out on this fundraising journey.  Did you know that aside from a lump, the follow are all real signs of breast cancer as well?:

  • an inverted nipple;
  • nipple discharge or crustiness’
  • dimples, puckering or dents;
  • orange-peel like skin;
  • unusual breast pain; and
  • a change in shape.

You can become more breast aware by taking a look here.  The most important thing is to find our what your “normal” is and to ensure you are taking the correct preventative steps according to your respective age bracket.

Look after your boobs!  Photo credit and further detailed info: the NZBCF website

Being in our twenties, our peer group is not in the most at-risk category.  Over 75% of all cases occur in women over the age of 50.  Some might argue that we could have found a more meaningful cause that is closer to home, however, our Mums and Aunties are all in the at-risk age bracket so we maintain that it is extremely relevant to us.  And it’s relevant to you guys (by guys we mean men, boys, lads etc) out there too. Furthermore, the money we raise today could very well help us in future.  In 2016, the NZBCF invested $1.3 million into research.  With the medical advancements made in the past twenty years, we are hopeful about what can be achieved in the next twenty years – when we ARE in the at risk category.  We like to think of it as future-proofing.

More than just fundraising though, we wanted our Pink Ribbon Event to be a platform for all of the important women in our lives to come together.  Sometimes all it takes to build a sisterhood or a strong community of women, is a cause.  Given that social interactions are central to good mental and physical health, we so badly wanted this cause to be a vehicle to develop stronger relationships and ties with the women in our lives and community…Go Girl Power!!!  We weren’t disappointed.  We had women from all avenues of our lives get involved.  The level of support we received from everyone was completely overwhelming.

Back to the start.  After deciding to have a raffle, Bec and I began to approach businesses, organisations and individuals for sponsorship.  This was nerve-wracking as heck!  How do you go about asking people for free stuff?  I find it hard to even ask for discounts!  I remember when I worked in retail when I was at Uni and I was plagued by customers asking for discounts on damaged products.  “This cardigan is missing a stitch, can you take anything off the price?”  “This skateboard’s packaging box is dented, can you give me $20 off?”  It drove me mad!

BUT I soon realised that Uncle Google (as usual) had all the answers, and I set to work drafting a letter based on all of the recommendations.  It took HOURS to write this letter.  I didn’t want to come across as cheeky, but I wanted some of our personalities to come through and wanted it to be light-hearted without affecting the integrity of the letter.  I was also super nervous about sending it which meant I kept tweaking and tweaking it.  Eventually I bit the bullet and just sent it to a couple of places.  Of course as soon as I did this I noticed a typo but hey, them’s the breaks.  Within two days we had secured our first two sponsors!  The amazing Nadia Lim donated a signed copy of her “Good Food Cookbook” and Mamas Donuts of Hamilton donated a voucher for a ten-pack of donuts (gosh, just thinking about them now makes me almost droooooolllll…!)  I remember phoning Bec as I was walking from the office to my car and shrieking down the phone to her – “We got a sponsor! We got a sponsor!!!”  This was followed up by a weekend visit to Hamilton (my second home) where we continued to put our heads together about who we could ask to sponsor out event.  On the Sunday morning I had the idea of going along to the Women’s Expo which was on that weekend in Hamilton, so after playing with the kids for a bit, I dragged Bec out of bed.  She wasn’t impressed when I told her that we were going to the Expo to hit people up for sponsorship but she quickly got on board!  At the Women’s Expo we secured SIX MORE SPONSORS!!!!

Picked up some sweet Fanny Adams Underwear prizes for our raffle at the Womens’ Expo in Hamilton!

Not long after this, one of our gorgeous best friends Emma came on board.  Now there is something all you guys and gals should know about Emma.  Not only is she an extremely dear friend to both Bec and I, she’s also a fricking machine who knows how to get shit done –  And then some!!  So after I sent out this letter to a few businesses and organisations with some pretty good results, Emma came along and distributed this letter to her alllll her contacts and anyone else she could think of who might like to support us!  New meaning to the word dedication.  She hit up so many people and with such great success that a huge number of our raffle prizes – if not the majority – were downright because of her efforts – not to mention the amazing goodies bags that everyone got to take home! (They were pretty awesome as far as goodie bags go.) Here she is below in action, such a good bitch!!!

Em in action at the door on the day – check out all those sweet goodie bags on the ground!  Photo Credit: @hikelsyscott

We were pretty shocked by all of this support flooding in, but I soon realised from selling raffle tickets as well, that if you ask someone nicely to support a good cause, they will usually say yes, especially if you aren’t asking for anything major, like a $5 raffle ticket.  A very large number of my colleagues purchased raffle tickets which attests to this.  And when that failed, as Dean said, you just ask them “do you like titties?” and if they say yes (most guys will say yes) all you really need to do is shrug….and say “we-ellll….”  and then the wallets open up!  For all of his sins (he really doesn’t have that many but he IS a guy so he does have some!), the guy has a lot of strokes of genius! One of the guys at my work even sold a few books of raffle tickets for us.  We need more men like him in this world – men who fight the good fight to save some NZ boobs!  I never told him he sold his first two books faster than I sold my first two tickets…slightly a tactical move on my part…can’t have him thinking he’s too good!

More raffle tickets being sold on the day of the High Tea.  Photo Credit: @hikelsyscott

However, before you start taking notes about how to weasel donations out of poor guys for breast cancer, I just want to reiterate that most people will actually willingly spare a fiver for a raffle ticket for a good cause and likewise, most businesses can and often will spare a small prize for a fundraiser raffle.  As I mentioned earlier in this post, really it was only the large Corporates who said “no” and usually their reasoning was that they get approached too often to support everyone or they have their own foundation or list of charities who they exclusively donate to.  But hey, that’s OK!  I did a quick mental take, and I found that of everyone who we asked, well over HALF were willing to donate something to our raffle, be it big or small.  That is astoundingly cool.  And of everyone we asked, 90% of people got back to us, to say either yes or no.  Now that is some fine email etiquette for you right there!

By this stage, we also had two more of our awesome girlfriends on board – Rachel and Krystal.  Rach’s man is one of Dean’s (Bec’s man) best mates and Krystal has been friends with Bec and Em for a number of years but before this event I hadn’t had a whole lot to do with either of them.  Well here’s to making rad friends over a rad cause.  The laughs and fun us girls had was amazing – worth more than any amount we ever could have raised.  See?  I told you Giving back is selfish!!!

Here’s a wee snap of us at a planning day (there were lots of planning days…they were fun but super super busy and they usually resulted in us trashing Bec’s house):

Krystal, Em and Bec with Co in the foreground

Once all of the prep was done (read: it was never done but we soon figured we would just have to roll with it and wing it to a certain extent!), all that was left to do was to wait for the big day to roll around.

We had one last planning meeting the weekend before where we all came together and figured out a general plan, goodie bags were assembled, set up and decorations were discussed, food was planned and the last of the jobs were assigned.   And then HOLY FUDGE-BUCKETS, just like that, it was only five more full days until the big day and there was still SO MUCH TO DO!!

But I’m going to make ya’ll wait until the next blog post to see how it all went.  This post is long and I’m a millennial which means I only have, like, a two second concentration span, right?  So stay tuned for the next post to hear all about the day and I’ll make sure I get some good snaps up for you to all have geeze at.

Soph x

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