Lifestyle & Culture

Mums run for breast cancer research: Newcastle’s Mother’s Day Classic

Participants of the Mothers Day Classic at the finish line

Newcastle’s Mother’s Day Classic was another great success in 2023! Leanne Elliot reflects on her experience, and speaks to organiser Jackie Mottram to find out more about the annual event.

This year I was fortunate enough to volunteer as a photographer at the Newcastle Mother’s Day Classic (MDC) and what an amazing, diverse, and colourful crowd. The vibe was overwhelmingly positive and supportive, so much so, that I have convinced my own family to participate next year.

Established in 1988, the MDC has raised over $41 million through community fundraising, donations, and registration fees, with the money going towards life-saving breast cancer research. Notably, over the past 26 years the MDC has been largest single donor to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

Since its inception, more than 1.5 million people have participated in MDC events across Australia, with major events being hosted by MDC and local events being run by volunteers.

Recently I spoke with one of the 2023 MDC organisers, and University of Newcastle staff member, Jackie Mottram, to find out more about the MDC and this year’s local Newcastle event, held at Stockton Foreshore on Sunday 14th May.

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When did you first get involved in the MDC?

I started participating in the Mother’s Day Classic when I returned to Melbourne after spending some time living overseas. Along with Amy Davidson (also a founding member of the current committee), I had many family members travel to Melbourne to participate and raise much needed funds and awareness for Breast Cancer Research.

In 2014, my beautiful late Nan travelled down from Coffs Harbour to Melbourne to participate. She was the oldest “walker” on the day, clocking in at 93 years young but that didn’t stop her giving cheek to all the volunteers on the course. I made her walk me over the finish line in her wheelchair and every time I think of that day, a massive smile comes over my face.

When Amy approached me and some other friends in late 2021 to host the event in Newcastle once again (it had previously been hosted in Newcastle but had been on a break since 2018), I didn’t hesitate to get involved. On the day we announced we were hosting the event in Newy last year, my Mum was also diagnosed with breast cancer. She’s one of the lucky ones and is doing great – but that can’t be said for all people who are impacted by this disease. Being able to raise funds for such a great cause motivates us all every year to continue.

Who are some of the sponsors behind the local event?

This year we had a number of sponsors sign up again (SiTech Solutions, Wests Group) and some new partners join us as well (Hunter Care Group and SRV Painting). We also saw an incredible contribution from a range of local businesses who made donations for our raffle – contributing to prizes worth over $2,000.

Everyone looked they were having a great time. How do you think this year’s Newcastle MDC went?

This year we almost doubled our number of participants from around 350 in 2022 to over 630 in 2023! So far, it is estimated efforts from the event registration, donations, and fundraising have contributed to raising over $38,000 for Breast Cancer Research, compared to just over $30,000 in 2022. We also had a few more vendors attend in 2023 including food stalls, a gift stall and lawn games for the kids (and adults alike).

Will there be another MDC in 2024?

Absolutely! We received a lot of feedback that the location was great so we will work with Newcastle City Council to secure the site again. We can’t wait and have already started thinking about how we can make it bigger and better!

Why do you think the MDC has been so successful?

Breast cancer is still the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women in Australia, with one in seven women diagnosed in their lifetime. While the Mother’s Day Classic may fall on Mother’s Day, it’s not just about mums. It’s about anyone affected by breast cancer, it’s about bringing people together, and it’s about raising funds for breast cancer research so that those diagnosed can live longer and happier lives – now and in the future.

Mother’s Day can be a difficult day for people who may have lost their mum, or have a mother suffering from illness. I think the success comes from people wanting to do something together as a family, remembering those they may have lost, and supporting such an amazing cause.

Is there anything else you would like people to know about the Newcastle Mother’s Day Classic?

Follow us on Facebook and send us a message if you’d like to get involved.

I’d also like to thank all our volunteers and your other incredible hosts: Amy Davidson, Jaimie Purvis, Narelle Kidner and Sarah Dawson.

Images by Leanne Elliott, Yak Writer.

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