By Caitlin Crowley
JULIA Spicer knows firsthand how important quality healthcare, close to home, is for patients dealing with a life-changing diagnosis in the bush.
The Goondiwindi business owner and Queensland’s Chief Entrepreneur (pictured below) has just celebrated her five year anniversary of treatment for breast cancer.
Now she has teamed up with Toowoomba Hospital Foundation to officiate its Talwood Pink Ladies Day festivities, which are returning to the tiny town for a day of fun and frivolity this August.
“Throughout my treatment I was able to take advantage of support in Toowoomba, much of it available thanks to work done by the Toowoomba Hospital Foundation,” Spicer said.
“I have been happy to work with Toowoomba Hospital Foundation over the last 5 years to support their fundraising efforts, as I know that in times of crisis, the ability to have access to services and equipment regionally, helps reduce stress, both for the patient and their family.”
Talwood Pink Ladies Day is a continuation of the hugely popular Weengallon Pink Ladies Day tradition, going back to the year 2000 when a group of local women organised a lunch and fashion parade to support the area’s once-a-week kindy service.
In the two decades that followed the event became a highlight of the region’s social calendar and raised critical funding and awareness of the gaps in healthcare services for those living in regional, rural and remote Queensland.
The money raised this year will help improve the care and facilities available to patients at some of the Darling Downs’ small local hospitals.
“We know how passionate regional communities are about their local health services, that’s why we’ve strategically changed our mission to help support the entire Darling Downs Health Service in communities like Talwood and Goondiwindi, not just Toowoomba,” Hospital Foundation CEO Alison Kennedy said.
“Our Suncorp Talwood Pink Ladies Day is a wonderful opportunity for the local community to get together and raise funds for the health service knowing that these funds will go towards providing much-needed medical equipment for rural women’s health services in their community and surrounding regional hospitals.
“Funds raised from last year’s event have helped to purchase multiple sleep ottomans, ultrasound machines, and anatomical female pelvis models for Goondiwindi Hospital as well as a NovaSure device for Kingaroy Hospital and a SOZO Machine for the Regional Cancer Centre.”
Julia Spicer said days like Talwood Pink Ladies day were a real shot in the arm for many reasons.
“Fundraising absolutely, but it is such a great chance to bring women from across the region together to celebrate, meet new people, catch up with old friends and generally appreciate all that we have,” she said.
“There are plenty of tough days we all have each year – this day is a chance to relax, enjoy and spend time with other regional women.”
Goondiwindi pharmacist Stacey Wild is among the event’s major sponsors, helping provide a ‘Mums & Bubs’ tent this year.
She wants rural mums to know they don’t have to miss out because they have a baby in tow.
“You can actually take your bub, there’ll be comfortable facilities there so you can go and still feed and you can still enjoy yourself,” Wild said.
“Even if you don’t have a group of girls to go with or your friends, just grab a ticket anyway because you’re going to meet people.
“Even though it’s not at Weengallon – it’s at Talwood now – it’s still got the same atmosphere and as soon as tickets go on sale it will pretty much sell out quickly.”
Wild said the event was an important opportunity to highlight what services are available to those who’ve received a serious diagnosis.
“We’ve actually had a lot of young women who’ve been diagnosed, as in like in their 40s, with breast cancer this year – so making sure they know what resources we can work towards getting,” Wild said.
“I know with my mates, we’re all like – righto, have you had your breast exam done, have you had your pap smear, how are you going?”
Guests at this year’s event will also hear from country wedding photographer turned fashion designer and soon-to-be podcast host, Edwina Robertson.
Robertson is this year’s keynote speaker and told the Caller she was excited and honoured to be part of the day.
“It’s as big event in the community calendar and one that historically is known for people to travel near and far for,” Robertson said.
“These type of events are imperative to the continuation of connection and community strength.
“I will be speaking about thriving in life even when you feel you’re not meeting the expectations of society.
“There is huge power in trusting your own life’s journey and going against the ‘societal grain’.”
Talwood Pink Ladies day is on August 23 and tickets are available now via this website.