03 May 2023

Meet the team behind 'Pink & Blue'

Meet Paul Rafanelli and Lynne Collins – two of the volunteer organisers of the annual Pink and Blue Swim, Walk and Run held at the West Beach Surf Lifesaving Club in South Australia each year.

The fundraising event which launched in 2013 has become an annual highlight on the calendar for locals, and in 2015, 2020 and 2021 was deservingly named South Australia’s Australia Day Community Event of the Year.

With 100 per cent of funds being split between both prostate and breast cancer, the event has raised over $500,000 since its launch. 

In that time, $230,000 has been donated to Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia, including an impressive $53,442.50 in February 2023.

“We launched the Pink Swim in 2013 to raise funds for breast cancer after we had a few members diagnosed. In 2017, we decided to add in a focus on prostate cancer and rename it to the Pink and Blue Swim to create awareness around both cancers,” Paul said.

“Now the event supports both Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia and St Andrews Hospital Breast Care Unit.

“The aim was to encourage locals to be aware of early detection and support others in the community impacted by the disease.”

Funds raised for PCFA from the event are dedicated to the delivery of the EVOLUTION Phase II Clinical Trial.

The trial is testing the effectiveness of a new form of nuclear medicine known as Lu-PSMA (Lutetium) in combination with immunotherapy. Eligible Australian men are now being recruited for the trial and have begun treatment in one of two arms in the study, which is expected to go for five years. The contribution of the Pink & Blue Swim to bringing this vital research to South Australia via one of the trial sites at Royal Adelaide Hospital is significant.

“As a Lifesaving club we save lives in the water – now we are helping to save lives on the land.

To hear people who are involved in the clinical trial and how it has kept them alive has put a smile on every West Beach Surf lifesaving member,” Paul said.

Lynne agreed and said she’s been humbled by the community support they have received over the years.

“In the first year we had 80 participants – and this year we had over 1,150,” she said.

“It’s been incredible to see the evolution and see more and more locals getting behind the event each year. To know that we’ve made a difference to people makes it all worth it.”

Organising an event of this size is no easy feat, but Lynne said the key is to make it as inclusive as possible.

“We have expanded it from a swim, to include walking and running too. And we’ve added multiple swimming distances and do small things like give out swimming noodles for those who want them. We also encourage participants to bring their pets on the walk which people love,” she said.

Now, participants can choose to swim either 200m, 500m or 1000m, walk 2km or jog or run 6km.

To stay up to date with the Pink & Blue Swim/Walk or Run and to join in the 2024 walk (February 10), follow the team on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pinkandblueswim