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Getting the message out there

Come and get a barbecued sausage and support Project Mammogram.

“We’re from your local Lions Clubs and we’re selling sausages to buy a mammogram machine for this community. We need $350,000, so we’ve got a lot of sausages to sell!”

Yes, I’m loud and proud in the name of supporting Project Mammogram.

Since I joined Whitianga Lions Club just over a year ago, I’ve spent many happy Saturdays helping on their sausage sizzle at the Whiti Citi Market in Soldier’s Park, Whitianga.

But here’s the interesting thing. People ask about Project Mammogram; people of all ages from this community and also visitors here.

And so I explain why we give up our Saturday mornings to sell sausages. Just along from our stall, the ladies from Mercury Bay Lions Club are doing their bit too for Project Mammogram. They’re currently selling raffle tickets to win a beautiful hand-crafted quilt, and like us they are there happily giving up their Saturdays.

Just the other Saturday as I was talking with a couple of groups of people, I once again experienced the rewards of this role, and so often we, as Lions Club members, experience it.

I’m talking about what happens when we explain what Project Mammogram is.

My first group on this occasion was a young couple of travellers from Germany. They came to ask me what Project Mammogram was.

Then they bought a sausage each. They stepped away a bit and then they turned back and donated $22! Wow!

Anyone who has ever travelled as a young person knows that you budget out everything to last cent. So to donate $22 was massive.

We all thanked them and wished them well. They have Lions Clubs in Germany, they said, but they had never experienced them fundraising like this and they believed in what we were doing.

Not long after that, two young teenage boys came to buy a sausage each and they too asked what Project Mammogram is. It’s hard to imagine their interest, however, they were definitely interested and they asked lots of questions.

I think they were thinking of their mothers, maybe even other female family members, because it seemed to resonate with them. As they turned to leave they put their change in the donation bucket.

In just over 12 months, the combined efforts of the Whitianga and Mercury Bay Lions Clubs with the support of the greater community, businesses, media and visitors to this region we have raised $122,000 towards our goal of $350,000. We’re not doing things by half! We’re going to buy a gold-standard mammogram machine to be based permanently in Whitianga to care for people getting a mammogram from the top of the Coromandel Peninsula down the eastern side as far as Whangamata.

In the meantime, we’re grateful that Midland Health has recognised the greater need for mammograms in this community and increased the time here of their mobile unit.

Among our fundraisers coming up is the Family Picnic Day on April 14; Mercury Bay Lions Club’s next fundraiser – The French Cafe Bubbly Brunch (tickets on sale from April 1) and the Art Expo on King’s Birthday Weekend.

We invite you to join us by supporting these events and help us achieve our goal.

“Come and get your barbecue sausage at the market on Saturday for $3. Your donation will go a long way towards early breast cancer detection. That sausage will help save lives.”