The rainy forecast did not stop hundreds of locals from colouring Macarthur Softball Fields pink for the Camden Mother’s Day Classic to celebrate and honour those impacted by breast and ovarian cancer and fund research into these deadly diseases.

The event – part of the nationwide Super Mother’s Day Classic campaign – was run by three local breast cancer survivors and mums, Sara Sheedy, Jessica Jones and Kelly-Lee Darby.

The cause is close to all three women’s hearts, and they worked tirelessly leading up to the day to ensure it ran smoothly. All their hard work made the event a massive success.

In a shared statement, Sara, Jess and Kelly said, “This is what happens when a community is stronger than a disease!… We are so thankful for the community support, our volunteers, our sponsors and our prize donators, our individual and team fundraisers, our market and food holders and businesses that come each year to help us create a family friendly event.”

The morning kicked off with a tribute to survivors of breast and ovarian cancer, as well as those the community have lost to cancer over the years.

The scenic 4km walk itself was followed by a picnic lunch and lots of family-friendly activities like a jumping castle, face painting, Mother’s Day gift stalls run by local vendors, and dance performances from some local Camden schools. There were a huge number of local sponsors on board, and local businesses donated over 20 incredible prizes for the raffle.

The Largest Team Winner award went to Elderslie-based dance group My Tribe Dance Fitness, who managed to raise a total of $3300.

One of the participants from the team, Sorel Campbell, said, “This is our second year participating in the event. There are many of us that dance together that have been touched in some way by cancer, with one woman’s daughter being diagnosed and treated for breast cancer, one losing her sister to ovarian cancer and another losing her best friend to breast cancer…”

“The Camden Classic is very close to home for all of us and even closer to our hearts. Hopefully with the small contribution we made we can in some way help in finding a cure and supporting people affected by cancer.”

Tallying is still in progress, so it is too early to tell what 2024’s total fundraising amount will be, but Sara, Jess and Kelly said, “We are already sure it has surpassed what we raised in total last year!”

On a nationwide scale, 1.6 million participants have taken part in the Mother’s Day Classic over the last 27 years, donating more than $44 million for vital breast cancer research to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

Over this period the five-year relative survival rate for those diagnosed with breast cancer has improved from 84% to 92%. In 2024, the new partnership with the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation aims to improve the statistics that currently see ovarian cancer claiming the life of a woman every eight hours in Australia with a five-year relative survival rate of just 49%.

“We are thrilled to have a strong turnout of 80,000 people at our 75 events nationwide,” Mother’s Day Classic CEO Zara Lawless said.

“Mother’s Day can be an extremely challenging day for some people for many different reasons – including those who have lost loved ones and those who are facing or have been through a life-threatening diagnosis.  The Mother’s Day Classic provides a way for our community to stand stronger together and for people to realise that they are not alone.”

–  Emily Kaine