‘We wear pink every day’: Meet the Presidents of Cambridge Pink Week 2021
‘Get your families and friends involved, regardless of whether they go to Cambridge or not’
CN: Discussion of cancer, specifically breast cancer
One woman is diagnosed with breast cancer every ten minutes in the UK. According to Breast Cancer Now that equates to around 55,000 women – and 370 men- diagnosed each year. Breast Cancer Now also calculates that around 23% breast cancer cases are preventable.
Cambridge Pink Week (1st– 7th Feb) runs a range of events to raise money and awareness for breast cancer charities. It began in 2014, when Clare College student Nina Rauch introduced it to celebrate her late mother and breast-cancer activist Dina Rabinovitch. Seven years later, though Cambridge’s Pink Week still remains the largest, the event has spread across several UK universities.
The Tab Cambridge spoke to the Cambridge Pink Week 2021 co-presidents, Evie Vennix and Anna Gray, about charities, events and organising a virtual Pink Week without the well-known Pink Week Ball. Here’s what they had to say…
For the co-presidents, the charities represent the “awareness, research and practical support” so vital to fighting breast cancer. They range from “improving medicine and treatment”, to “supporting the patients and their families throughout diagnosis and the treatment process”. Anna and Evie also recognise their “amazing missions in raising awareness”.
This year’s events
Gone are the days of the Pink Week Ball, pizza parties and any in-person Cambridge events. However, the committee has put together a whirlwind timetable of online events, which broadly fit their aims of fundraising, education and inclusion. They also gave us the ambiguous tip: “look out for some Central Cambridge Buildings turning pink” (we’re as curious as you are).
Wanting to emphasise “how important it is to move”, especially during this *turbulent* term, the week includes not one or two but five active events. The committee themselves each danced for six hours in November as they raised £640 as part of a dance-athon. This week’s events range from dancing in heels, doing the Cha Cha Cha and dancing Bollywood to a hit workout run by Mary Twitchett (a breast cancer survivor herself). Priced at £3.50 each, who doesn’t want to get moving for charity?
There are also a range of free educational events. From an interactive check yourself workshop, to a week-long virtual art show exploring themes of breast cancer and pinkness. There are also educational opportunities such as a panel highlighting BME and male voices in breast cancer, as well as a talk exploring breast cancer research. And who could forget the virtual escape room?!
Anna and Evie draw attention to the importance of their events in raising awareness: “If we manage to save one life, or get one person to spot breast cancer early, then that’s what we’re here for, that’s what our events aim to do.”
The focus this year
With no Pink Week Ball in sight, their events this year have focused upon bringing the Cambridge community together in other ways. For example, they’ve collaborated on some events with CU India Society and the Cambridge Union, as well as received support from Rag and Girl Talk through social media. The co-presidents have really found that “one of the most heartening things to come out of this pandemic has been the student solidarity”.
This year Pink Week is also focusing on inclusion, “not just talking about it” but “trying to do something to make a change.” They’ve selected the charity Black Women Rising which supports BAME people diagnosed with cancer. Furthermore, their panel includes Leanne Pero, whose support group creates a dialogue between black women suffering from breast cancer, and Zahida Ramzan-Asghar who works to break down taboos surrounding cancer in BME communities.
They also want to raise awareness stating that: “Although it affects women in the highest numbers, men and people identifying as any gender, can also be affected by breast cancer”. Their panel includes Dave Talbot, who speaks about his own diagnosis with male breast cancer, and in March the committee collectively ran over 370km to recognise the 370 men (on average) diagnosed with breast cancer each year.
What can you do to help?
When asked about how Cambridge students can help (other than attending the events of course) the response was immediate: “It’s about making an impact in your circle; educating yourself could potentially save the lives of your friends or family”.
They also highlighted the importance of donation. This year the co-presidents expect the funds they raise to be lower than usual, but, they add: “Even if you can only give a little bit, give whatever you can, because they need it so much”.
You can also contribute by buying stash available on their website. All ethically or sustainably sourced, the stash ranges from boob totes, and classic earrings to their collaboration with Rhimani Jewellery. Is there a better way to appear fashionable while supporting a worthy cause? We think not.
The organisers have noted that “the last three weeks have felt like the quickest three weeks of our lives”, but they’re optimistic about Pink Week 2021, precisely because they believe that it will reach a larger audience. With everything transitioning online, they urge you to “get your families and friends involved, regardless of whether they go to Cambridge or not.”
The pink week organisers have a mantra, “mean girls wear pink on Wednesdays, but we wear pink every-day.” So let’s wear pink with them, raise awareness about breast cancer and celebrate a great cause!
Cover image credit: Cambridge pink week