By 2004, the Coffs Harbour Racing Club had established a Ladies Day as part of its annual Calendar held in January each year. The concept was to offer a day to the ladies, families and children of the area during the annual Christmas/New Year holiday period.
In 2006, Brooke McCann put a proposal to the club to create a race day to fundraise for Breast Cancer research. This idea was formed in memory of Miss McCann’s mother who had passed away in January 2003 from Breast Cancer.
The first Pink Silks committee met on 16 September 2006.
The Committee: Brooke McCann, Tanya Johnson (nee Slaviero), Sherryn Tutt, Vashti Broadbent (nee Stewart), Vicky Hunter, Lee Millard & Krista Smith.
The First Pink Silks Ladies Day was held Sunday 14th January 2007
The concept was a hard sell in the beginning, as it was a new and different way to fundraise, and the gambling side stopped many from participating. But thankfully to some great and generous supporters and their commitment to our community, it has rapidly grown to become a huge success.
The first year Pink Silks was to raise funds and awareness for Breast Cancer only and all funds were sent to national research institutes.
The inaugural recipients of funds to be raised were:
National Breast Cancer Foundation; Breast Cancer Network Australia; National Breast Cancer Centre & Dragons Abreast Australia.
The inaugural Committee quoted to the press “With over 12,000 women in Australia being diagnosed with breast cancer each year – through race sponsorship, race book advertising, hospitality packages sold, donations and fund-raising on race day, we’re hoping we can raise in excess of $10,000″
The inaugural event exceeded all expectations the money raised for those recipients was over $25,000!!!!
Knowing that very few people have not been touched either directly or indirectly by the disease the Coffs Harbour Racing Club was overjoyed to be able to help create such a worthy event.
The focus of the Pink Silks Ladies Race day is family, community and the contribution everyone can make to those women undergoing treatment.
The annual event is held in January each year – the theme is pink, and as each year passes, more and more people come dressed in pink. It’s wonderful. The day consists of races, fashion on the field, kids’ activities, merchandise sales, raffles and an auction. The auction is approximately 15-20 items that are mainly experiences that people can’t by.
‘When you are going through any major treatment, some days are harder than others, and you want one day to forget your constant fight for survival. You want a day which is fun and surrounded by those you love and that day motivates you to keep fighting’ said Tanya Johnson, when reflecting on her breast cancer journey at 35 years of age and of her work at the local hospital.
‘This is the real purpose of the Pink Silks Ladies Race Day and the fundraising and awareness for a specific illness is the bonus to provide what is needed locally to make the fight and recovery much easier’ added Tanya Johnson.
So in the second year, the committee realised that this community was excited by the opportunity to support local women through this family oriented event. The committee then decided it was apparent that there are so many other women’s health issues, where local awareness was needed to be focussed and equipment bought to directly support them.
By the fifth year, the committee realised that the impact these funds have on our community and the support they were receiving from people attending the race day, that they branched into Pink Silks merchandise. This allowed them to expand the funds and broadly advertise the day.
Everyone is encouraged to wear pink and over the years they have seen more and more men wear the colour of the day. The merchandise has also provided an avenue for those to support the day financially and have something pink in their possession.
As of 2014, Coffs Harbour Pink Silks Perpetual Trust became a registered charity and have a trust fund for beneficiaries that require urgent help throughout the year.