2019 Women of the West Award Winner Q&A - Jodie Amor
8 May 2019
You were presented with Western Sydney University's Women of the West Community Award back in April for your work with Pink Finss - can you tell us a little about the charity and the work that you do?
We are a grass root charity that began in 2010 with a vision to support women and their families with breast cancer.
The vision for this Charity came from my own journey with breast cancer over 10 years ago which highlighted the need for a support group in the Hawkesbury. As much as family and friends are a fantastic support, it really helps to be able to speak to others who are also going through the same thing. I was also fortunate to have income protection when I was diagnosed so continued to receive an income whilst I was off work, but other women are not so lucky.
What began as a few ladies in a coffee shop has now turned into 25-30 ladies each month at our support group meetings, and in 2017 we opened up our network to support women with all types of cancer due to the demand in the area.
Thanks to the financial support of our community, and our regular fundraising events over the past ten years, we have been able to support over 140 women and their families either financially, or with practical help such as counselling, oncology massage, gardening, wigs, prosthesis, out of pocket medical expenses and our support group meetings.
At Pink Finss we not only support the woman on her cancer journey but we make sure the family is supported as well. Unfortunately, the prognosis of our ladies is not always a positive one and we support the family for as long as they need.
How have things been going for Jodie since you picked up the 2019 Women of the West Community Award?
It has been fantastic to feel the love and support of the community in acknowledging and celebrating what the Pink Finss does. It's easy to get lost in the day to day running of the Charity so it has been nice to stop and really celebrate what we have achieved over the last 10 years. But more than anything this Award has validated what we do as a Charity, and I am now more determined than ever to continue growing our network of supporters, so that we can expand the services offered to our ladies.
How are things going with Pink Finns this year - is the charity continuing to grow?
Yes the Charity is continuing to grow, which is a bitter sweet feeling, because unfortunately with growth that means more ladies out there are being diagnosed and needing our services. In one week alone, just before Easter, we received requests from 6 new ladies which is the largest intake in one week that we have had to date.
Whilst this is a sad reality, we take comfort in knowing that we can help make the journey easier for women and their families at a very difficult time.
The nomination process for the Women of the West Awards is no small feat - so whoever nominated you must have had a lot of faith in your work! What was the reaction like for those around you when you did take the award home?
It was a very special time to celebrate this occasion, not only with my family and friends, but with the whole Hawkesbury Community. The community funds the Charity and has been a tremendous support over the last 10 years by attending our events and donating to our cause. It was just as much a celebration for our community, who have been on this journey with us, and a celebration for our management team who has worked tirelessly behind the scenes over the last 10 years in getting the Charity to where it is today.
Being a Women of the West nominee also made me realise how many other women are out there in the community making a difference - and to celebrate International Women's Day with these inspirational ladies was amazing and an experience I will never forget.
We see that you've got the Pink Royale coming up on Saturday May 25 - can you tell us a bit about the event and what you're looking to achieve?
We decided to try something a little different for the Hawkesbury by hosting a Casino Night. Whilst fundraising is a priority, it is equally as important to attract different people to our events so that we can spread the word about what we do. After holding a Pink Tie Ball for the last 3 years, we thought it was time to try something a bit less formal, a bit more 'light hearted' and a bit more affordable for the community as they don't have the added expense of buying ball gowns and accessories.
Our goal is to ensure that all of our guests walk away having had a great night, and a little bit more aware of what services the Pink Finss offer the Community, and if we can raise some funds in the process to assist with helping others then we are winning!
What else does 2019 have in store for Jodie and Pink Finss?
This year the focus is definitely on building on the wonderful relationships we currently have in our community, and also expanding on our community sponsorships.
Unfortunately we have lost a few very special 'breast friends' to their cancer fight this year, which is a constant reminder for us to keep on doing what we are doing. We have also had a particular focus this year on bringing in more guest speakers to our monthly support group meetings so as to arm our ladies with some practical strategies for living with cancer and being able to expand on the services we offer is always a priority.
Do you have any advice for Women looking to champion a specific cause as you did with Pink Finss, but just not knowing where to start?
Believe in yourself, create a great team that you can trust, stay true to yourself and have plenty of family support.
The process of setting up a registered Charity has not been easy but the end result has been worth it. It warms my heart every day to know that we are making a difference to the lives of others and that we are truly appreciated in our community for what we do.
What can Women in Business members do to help Pink Finns?
You can support the Pink Finss by attending our Pink Royale Casino Night on 25 May 2019 (go to www.pinkfinss.com.au to purchase tickets).
Alternatively you can pledge a donation to the Pink Finss via our website, which will go a long way to supporting women and their families with cancer.