Penrith NSW

Penrith are ready to party in pink for a good cause

When Gai Hawthorn, CEO of Penrith CBD Corporation, was contacted by the McGrath Foundation in 2018, her board members had a polite giggle, because Gai didn’t follow cricket. Since then, McGrath Foundation Co-Founder and President Glenn McGrath has taught Gai a thing or two about the game — and also collaborated with her committee to increase breast cancer awareness and raise important funds with Pink Up Penrith

“Five years ago my Dad passed away from cancer and my Nan had cancer, so I was passionate about helping the cause and was on three local charities,” says Gai. 

“Tracy Bevan, McGrath Foundation Ambassador and Director, rang and my board members all had a laugh because I didn’t follow cricket. So, I called her back and Tracy said, ‘Do you know the pink cricket in January?’ — and that’s how it all started.”

Pink Up Penrith is now in its sixth year and each October Gai relishes the opportunity to work closely with her community on activations. “Despite having a demanding job, I’m driven to help because of the work McGrath Foundation does — and how hands-on Glenn and Tracy are. I see and hear the results, and people in Penrith are living the results locally,” she says.

Gai believes her role as CEO of Penrith CBD Corporation is a wonderful platform to activate Pink Up Penrith. “I have connections to thousands of local businesses, which is crucial to getting the message out and assisting with venues. So, this isn’t only about me doing something for the McGrath Foundation, this is about Penrith doing something.”

The Penrith community are notoriously passionate about sport and one of the biggest events for Pink Up Penrith is Pink Up Golf Day. “It usually sells out in 10 minutes, along with our popular Pink High Tea.” Gai believes the secret to their success is that so many businesses, schools and individuals get involved. “In Penrith, we really do preach ‘Pink Up’ all year and then in October, the whole place goes pink!”

Underpinning Gai’s devotion to Pink Up Penrith is understanding the incredible gift McGrath Breast Care Nurses are for individuals and their families affected by breast cancer. “I see firsthand in the community the difference between having a McGrath Breast Care Nurse and not having one. That’s why I do what I do even though I work full-time. You get a best friend the moment you are paired with a McGrath Breast Care Nurse.”

At Pink Up Penrith events, McGrath Breast Care Nurses dressed in the colour of care, also known as pink, are overwhelmed with gratitude. “When our guests see a group of nurses turn up at our events, they become emotional and want to thank them in person.”

In 2023, Gai is pleased Pink Up Penrith will be relatively free of the pandemic restrictions of previous years. “This year, because we are holding fundraisers involving so many small businesses, we hope to help them recover. Together as a community we can get out there to rejoice and recover.”

Decorate your town pink and turn Breast Cancer Awareness Month into your month to support McGrath Foundation. From your streets to your schools, decorate your town in the colour of care and raise funds to ensure no one misses out on the care of a breast care nurse.