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Join the Sea of Pink to help Queensland beat breast cancer

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Breast cancer survivors and their supporters across Queensland are being urged to fight the disease by joining this year’s ‘Sea of Pink’.

Registrations for the International Women’s Day Fun Run presented by Queensland X-Ray are open at womensdayfunrun.com.au and organisers are hoping to smash last year’s participation record of 23,000 people. 

Funds from the event on Sunday 10 March will go towards life-saving breast cancer research, as well as services and support for breast cancer patients at Mater hospitals in Brisbane, Springfield, Redlands, Townsville, Mackay, Rockhampton and Bundaberg.

Queensland X-Ray will present the International Women’s Day Fun Run for the next five years, providing an opportunity to work with Mater to improve health outcomes for the community.


Queensland X-Ray clinical support worker Mel was one of the first to register for the 2024 Sea of Pink after successfully beating breast cancer last year.

The 38-year-old mum-of-two has spent her working life caring for breast cancer patients, but said her diagnosis still hit her ‘like a tonne of bricks’.

“I remember it so clearly,” she said. “It felt for a little while like the bottom fell out of my world.”

Mel underwent chemotherapy, surgery and 25 rounds of radiotherapy. She said the IWD Fun Run not only raises awareness and much-needed funds for people with breast cancer but also offers a sense of camaraderie to those touched by the disease.

“In a lot of ways I’m stronger than before I had breast cancer,” Mel said.

“But I think the big learning experience for me is that, once you are past those initial stages of cancer treatment, people need a lot more support going into the next phase of life after treatment.

“That’s why this event is so special. It helps you to know that no woman has to go through breast cancer alone.”

More than 20,000 people took part in the 5km Brisbane IWD Fun Run last year, with a further 3,300 participants across Queensland running in their own fun run events.

Last year’s event raised more than $2m to support cancer patients.

Mater Foundation Chief Executive Officer Andrew Thomas urged participants to register quickly before places in the Brisbane event run out.

“Brisbane turns into a sea of pink every year for this event, as participants take to the streets in hot pink fun run t-shirts to support people with breast cancer,” Mr Thomas said.

“In recent years, we have expanded the event to regional Queensland and have seen a surge in participants from Bundaberg, Rockhampton, Mackay and Townsville.

“Last year the Brisbane event reached capacity in just four weeks – so if you want to join the sea of pink in 2024 sign up now.”

Managing Radiologist at Queensland X-Ray’s Mater Women’s Imaging Centre Dr Kerry McMahon said her colleagues were at the forefront of the fight against breast cancer.

Dr McMahon said breast imaging had progressed tremendously since the introduction of full-field digital mammography in Australia in 2011.

In the next few months, Queensland X-Ray will launch contrast-enhanced mammography at its Mater South Brisbane practice, with a new GE Pristina mammogram machine.

She urged all eligible women to undergo breast screening and to prioritise their health.

“Many women fear having a mammogram, delay or just never present, due to and fears around discomfort,” Dr McMahon said.

“However, with experienced mammographers and modern equipment, there should be minimal discomfort, with the compression only lasting a very short 10 to 15 seconds for each breast.

“Many women put their own needs behind everyone else in the family – but all women should prioritise having a regular mammogram.”

Dr McMahon said it was very important to understand the difference between ‘screening’ and ‘diagnostic’ mammograms.

“The screening program provided by the government is free to all women over the age of 40, however is very much for asymptomatic women,” she said.

“However, if you have a symptom such as a new lump, pain, or discharge you need to access diagnostic imaging, which will consist of the 3D mammogram and additional ultrasound assessment.”

Registrations for the International Women’s Day Fun Run presented by Queensland X-Ray are open at womensdayfunrun.com.au