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Hands up

12 October 2012

This year, Westpac’s Kent Street Headquarters hosted a white room to launch the National Breast Cancer Foundation’s October awareness month. 

Staff and family at Westpac were encouraged to put their hands up in pink on the white walls, creating a genetic map of support and acknowledging the part family genetics plays in the disease and in research for a cure. The white walls covered in pink handprints also served as a visual representation of the way in which breast cancer touches us all. 

The handprint room raises awareness around NBCF’s initiative – an online site for people interested in receiving information about opportunities to participate in breast cancer research. 

Westpac’s commitment to supporting research around breast cancer to increase awareness – and eventually find a cure for the disease – continues through its ongoing association of NBCF’s major fundraising and awareness initiatives. 

Besides selling pink ribbons in its branches to raise funds for breast cancer research, Westpac helped launch and continues to support NBCF’s Register4 project and will remind its customers this October through its ATMs across the country to sign up to the initiative in 2012.

In 2010 NBCF Ambassador Sarah Murdoch launched the online community site in Sydney’s Martin Place, following a march on Martin Place by Westpac staff in pink T-shirts led by CEO Gail Kelly.

Register4 is Australia's first online community set-up to help researchers recruit volunteers more quickly and with less cost, so they can spend more time and money conducting research. It’s free for anyone to join as long as they are 18 years old or more and it’s confidential.

Members (Register4 is aiming to get 1 million volunteers on its site) can volunteer as research subjects for scientists in the way they choose to be involved. The database has in the past two years significantly reduced volunteer recruitment time and costs, providing scientists and their projects with considerable advantages.

Register4 means members can choose to make their own personal contribution towards making research happen faster, in a way that doesn’t require financial donations or knocking on doors. There are now more than 29,000 Register4 members. 

In 2011, to help promote Register4 and raise awareness around breast cancer and research, Westpac and NBCF unveiled more than 8000 pink paper cranes in celebration of the online community’s first birthday.

Based on the Japanese myth about folding 1000 origami paper cranes to make a wish come true, Westpac’s installation of 8,247 pink paper cranes represented each female staff member in Westpac’s Corporate Headquarters wish to find a cure for breast cancer.

This year’s white room of pink handprints is another timely reminder of the need for support in research focusing on the link between genetics and a possible cure.