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BCNA News 06 Jun 2018

Q & A with Carmen Mullenger

The countdown to this year’s Field of Women at the MCG is well and truly on. In fact, you can keep track of it to the second on BCNA’s website – an indication of how significant the event is to BCNA and many of its participants. A little over two months away, it is shaping up to be a spectacular, memorable and moving day in this, BCNA’s 20th anniversary year.

This year alone it is estimated that 18,235 people, including 148 men, will be diagnosed with breast cancer and BCNA hopes this number will be represented at the Field, standing together in the shape of BCNA’s Pink Lady.

‘It’s a rare thing to be able to stand on the MCG, let alone 18,000 people at the same time. It really is sacred turf,’ says Carmen Mullenger, BCNA’s project manager for the Field of Women 2018.

For Carmen, who has been working at BCNA for a year, and full-time on the Field event since December, organising the Field is ‘an all-consuming passion’, but because the day is so huge, ‘it’s an all-organisation commitment’.

There is close liaison taking place with the Melbourne Football Club and the Melbourne Cricket Club, and there will be 350 volunteers helping at registration points on the day. Directing the participants onto the ground to form the Pink Lady symbol is expected to take about 30 minutes. There will be speakers and ‘top-secret entertainment that will wow everyone,’ says Carmen.

‘Anyone who is standing on that Field will not forget 12 August. This event will help people create some very special memories.’

This is the fifth Field of Women BCNA has run (the others were in 2005, 2007 in Sydney, 2010 and 2014), but this is the first to be held in daylight, which opened up new opportunities. This time there will be a family festival outside the MCG from 11.00 am, prior to the on-ground events and the Melbourne vs Sydney AFL match.

‘We felt it was important to make this a family day because a breast cancer diagnosis doesn’t just affect the person – it affects their family, friends and often has a ripple effect throughout the community,’ Carmen says.

‘For women, men and families affected by breast cancer, the Field is an opportunity to come together and stand together, show their support for others affected, reflect on their own journey and remember and pay tribute to those they may have lost. We’ve had so many emails from people who are coming to stand in remembrance of their loved one.’

The Field also provides an extraordinary national platform for breast cancer awareness, as well as the support and services BCNA provides.

Carmen says the event would not be possible without the support of many partners and organisations. Funding from Red Energy and the Victorian Government has meant that 100 per cent of proceeds from Field tickets will go to BCNA to help deliver its programs and services. V/Line will provide free pre-booked return travel to Melbourne for Field ticket holders (for details, visit bcna.org.au/fieldofwomen).

Ticket sales have been strong, with ‘a massive uptake on day one’ and many bookings from interstate. Carmen’s message to anyone still wanting to attend but yet to buy a ticket is not to delay. And for the first time, children under 15 will be admitted free of charge. Tickets include admission to the football match and gift packs.