October is recognised internationally as Breast Cancer Awareness Month and brings attention to the impact of breast cancer on patients and their loved ones. Each year, the Sydney Breast Cancer Foundation runs the ‘burpees4boobs’ campaign. The campaign is dedicated to raising awareness and funds for support and research into breast cancer by challenging people to do 1000 burpees in October.
As the Course Coordinator of the only Graduate Certificate in Breast Cancer Nursing in Australia, during October I took up the challenge of participating in ‘burpees4boobs’.
What ‘burpees4boobs’ means to me
I have been Course Coordinator for the Graduate Certificate in Breast Cancer Nursing at the Australian College of Nursing (ACN) for two years. I am proud to coordinate a Graduate Certificate that provides students with the principles to improve their knowledge and skills for the provision and coordination of evidenced-based breast cancer care.
It was only after I started coordinating the course that I have become privy to the prevalence of breast cancer among Australian women and how the current resources are underutilised.
As the second most diagnosed cancer in Australia and the most common cancer affecting women with 57 people diagnosed a day (National Breast Cancer Foundation [NBCF], 2022), having adequate resources and support can be lifechanging for people throughout treatment.
Breast Care Nurses (BCNs) are a specialised field that has seen a decrease in numbers due to COVID-19, so it is vital to me that funds dedicated to BCNs can be directed into utilising those resources.
Sadly, nine Australians lose their lives to the disease every day (NBCF, 2022) and I hope that more awareness and resources can help reduce this figure.
Preparing for the challenge
Before participating in this initiative, I was keen to know where the raised funds would be going. After doing some research, I was very pleased to find out that the money donated will contribute to funding medical equipment, research, community awareness, education programs, holistic therapies, and BCNs.
The dedicated support for BCNs resonated with me as Course Coordinator, as I have seen, taught, and helped shape students that have passed through my course and know of their struggles working as BCNs.
My goal in participating in ‘burpees4boobss’ was to motivate women to be breast aware. It is vital that women are performing regular self-breast examinations and that women aged 50-74 are actively participating in free mammogram screening through BreastScreen Australia.
My goal of 1000 burpees over 31 days equated to approximately 32 burpees per day.
Completing the challenge
I was excited to complete 1000 burpees during the month of October to support the Sydney Breast Cancer Foundation. I already have a love for fitness and in particular burpees, so this fundraiser was the perfect match for me!
Some days were more difficult than others. Regardless, no matter the circumstances I ensured I kept up my burpee-ing routine day in and out to ensure I reached my goal. I was proud of myself for sticking to my goal and reaching the 1000 burpees by the end of the month.
Seeing people generously donating to the cause helped me through the hard days where it felt impossible to get the motivation to continue. My initial fundraising goal was to raise $500, and I was able to double that goal to $1055, which was extremely rewarding.
Upon reflection, my fundraising efforts were about drawing attention to breast cancer and by participating in this fundraiser I was able to raise awareness through my colleagues, friends, family, and social media platforms.
I hope that women will become more vigilant with their breast checks and that the money raised will support our BCNs.
Meet your Nurse Educator
Kirsten has been nursing for 10 years and has experience working in critical care settings, as well as experience as a nurse educator with other educational providers. You can see Kirsten on the TV show Kings Cross ER! She is passionate about delivering quality education that will empower nurses to provide care that is of the highest standard.
National Breast Cancer Foundation [NBCF]. (2022). Breast Cancer Stats. https://nbcf.org.au/about-breast-cancer/breast-cancer-stats/
Sydney Breast Cancer Foundation. (2022). Beating breast cancer together. https://www.sbcf.org.au/