Paddle in Pink Raises over $4600 for McGrath Foundation

Paddle in Pink Raises over $4600 for Pink up Penrith and the McGrath Foundation

Throughout October 2020 the Penrith paddling community, including members of the Australian Paddle Team supported the Pink Up Penrith campaign raising over $4600 for the McGrath Foundation.

The Paddle in Pink initiative, launched by champion paddler and Olympian Richard Fox, partnered with Paddle Australia, Rowing Australia, Rowing NSW and Paddle NSW, Penrith Rowing Club, Penrith Valley Canoeing as well as Pendragons Abreast to promote events on the Nepean River, at Penrith Whitewater and at Sydney International Regatta Centre.

Sevan + Julien Billaut (Aus Paddle Team Canoe Slalom Coach) – Photo credit JGRImages

At a series of events throughout October paddlers and rowers “pinked up” in support of breast cancer awareness month ‘Pink October’ and to raise funds and awareness for the work of the McGrath Foundation.

The Penrith Valley Canoeing Club Championships kicked-off the pink event series (see event story here: ) which amongst others included a Pink up your Pooch event at Sydney International Regatta Centre (SIRR), a Paddle NSW sprint regatta, as well as a Paddle in Pink whitewater session put on by Penrith Whitewater Stadium.

The final event was a closing ceremony and sold out lunch at the Lakeside Restaurant on Friday 30 October.  In the presence of a fine selection of aspiring Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic rowers and Team Tokyo canoe slalom paddlers, Penrith City Mayor, Councillor Karen McKeown AOM welcomed the guests.

Fundraising award recipient, Neel Chand, representing Penrith RSL, who have been outstanding contributors to Pink Up Penrith with ongoing fundraising totalling $20,000, received his medal from Pink Up Penrith supremo Gai Hawthorne.

Sarah Maguire, one of three McGrath Breast Care nurses at Nepean Hospital, received a medal from Melissa McIntosh MP, who later highlighted the importance of the McGrath nurses at Penrith’ local hospital in her address to guests.

Finally, the Pendragons Abreast crew were recognised by the Mayor for their courage and sense of community in supporting others recovering from breast cancer.

Paddle in Pink 'Medal Ceremony' @ SIRR - Photo JGRImages
Paddle in Pink Closing Ceremony @ SIRR – Photo JGRImages

MC Julia Parashko led through the luncheon, which included Rowing Australia’s, Harriet Hudson, Georgia Nesbitt and Kate Murdoch, who were joined by Paddle Australia’s Olympic canoe slalom paddlers Daniel Watkins and Lucien Delfour, who talked about training through COVID and their preparation for Tokyo 2020.

“I went back to Tasmania at the start of COVID and wasn’t able to get back up to Penrith until recently.  I managed to participate in the Paddle in Pink event at Penrith Whitewater and it was cool to be part of the closing ceremony and lunch.  It’s nice to be back on the water in Penrith and to train with others and a coach, training is going very well and the course is really good, plus it’s much warmer up here!  It was also good to meet everyone from the different paddling communities at the closing event,” Watkins said.

Daniel Watkins @ Pink Up Penrith Whitewater Stadium - Photo credit JGRImages
Daniel Watkins @ Pink Up Penrith Whitewater Stadium – Photo credit JGRImages

Fellow Tokyo Olympic team mate and Rio Olympian Lucien Delfour also supported the event and enjoyed the sense of community.

“It was a great event, it was so interesting to meet new people from the community.  Learning about cancer was something new as I haven’t really had experience or a connection through family or friends. It was quite an eye opener for me to see how open and supportive people are for each other.”

Lucien Delfour @ Luncheon - Photo credit JGRImages
Lucien Delfour @ Luncheon – Photo credit JGRImages

Paddle Australia’s most successful canoe slalom paddler of all time, Jessica Fox, joined the luncheon via video call, throwing her support behind the cause.

“I pinked up in spirit and followed the event from where I was in Europe and from quarantine in Sydney!  It was great to see the Penrith paddling community out on the water and the women’s rowing team training in pink for Tokyo.  My trip to Europe was very worthwhile but I do miss paddling back home and so I loved following the photos and videos.  Next year I’ll be sure to join in, pink paddle in hand,” Fox said.

Paddle in Pink Luncheon - Photo credit JGRImages
Paddle in Pink Luncheon – Photo credit JGRImages

Pendragons Secretary Jane Howard wrapped up the interviews and emphasised what Paddle in Pink means to the local paddling community.

A highlight at the luncheon was the auction of a signed pink Panthers jersey donated by Penrith Panthers, with local State member, the Hon. Stuart Ayres MP, leading the auction and reaching three times the reserve price.

“What an outstanding way to wrap up another successful Pink Up Penrith campaign. Massive thanks to Paddle Australia, our wonderful mayor Councillor Karen McKeown, Melissa McIntosh MP, Stuart Ayres MP and the whole Penrith community for another year of fundraising for the McGrath Foundation,” Gai Hawthorne Pink Up Penrith and McGrath Foundation ambassador said after the closing ceremony and lunch.

The event was also supported by the Penrith business community including Southlands Shopping Centre, Nepean Regional Security, Penrith CBD Corp and the Nepean News.

“It has been a blur of a month, we supported nine different events and finished with our own closing ceremony to recognise the fundraisers for Pink Up Penrith, the McGrath Foundation support nurses and the breast cancer survivors.  Paddle in Pink was our way of promoting a good cause and helping make life that little bit easier for those experiencing breast cancer.  We had great support from the Penrith paddling community and from those who came to Penrith for events at the Regatta Centre, Whitewater or the River.  The Penrith business community has also been very supportive.  I guess it is just a start and next year we’ll be back pinker than ever and sharing the spirit and love from the river,” Paddle in Pink initiator Richard Fox said.

Want to help McGrath Foundation put more nurses in hospitals? You can still donate to the Pink Up Penrith campaign here until 30 November:

Or post your support on social media using #pinkuppenrith and #paddleinpink.

Paddlers Pink up @ Paddle NSW Sprint Series

Below is a list of events the Paddle in Pink initiative coloured in Pink:

DATE              EVENT                                                LOCATION
4/10/20            PVC Flatwater Champs                      Nepean River
11/10/20          Dragon Boats NSW                            Regatta Centre
18/10/20          Paddle NSW Sprint Series                 Regatta Centre
21/10/20          Paddle in Pink photo call                    Nepean River
24/10/20          Penrith Rowing Club training              Nepean River
25/10/20          PVC Canoe Slalom                            Penrith Whitewater
25/10/20          Pink up Whitewater session               Penrith Whitewater
27/10/20          Rowing Australia NTC Pink up           Nepean River
30/10/20          Closing Ceremony and Lunch            Lakeside Restaurant

Pink up @ Penrith Whitewater Stadium - JGRImages
Pink up @ Penrith Whitewater Stadium – JGRImages
Ada Mackie – Paddle in Pink @ Penrith Whitewater Stadium, Photo credit JGRImages
Pink up on Nepean River – Photo credit JGRImages

For more information head to Fox & co:

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