Tonbridge held its most vivid ‘Pink Day’ to date on Friday 20 October. During this annual event, the School’s students and staff stand with all those affected by breast cancer and, indeed, by cancers of all kinds.
Every boy wore pink clothing, many embracing the fun of over-the-top dresses and wigs to help raise a smile.
The Praes also helped staff to dress School buildings in several hundred metres of pink fabric and bows, particularly those buildings facing the High Street, as a sign of support for the local community.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the School uses Pink Day as an occasion to discuss and highlight issues concerning all cancers, and to show support for any individuals and families going through a diagnosis. The event has run at Tonbridge for more than 15 years, with this year’s Pink Day raising more than £5,000 for Breast Cancer Kent.
This charity not only offers direct medical help to those with a diagnosis, and practical support for families, but also raises funds to purchase the latest, leading-edge equipment. Due to its efforts, parts of Kent have access to some of the most advanced treatments in the country.
In the run-up to Pink Day, boys heard from Miss Deepika Akolekar, a Consultant Breast and Oncoplastic Surgeon with the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust, and a Trustee of Breast Cancer Kent. In her talk she explained that the medical profession has many new techniques for treating breast cancers, and that survival rates are increasing all the time, although specialist equipment is expensive.
Deepika was one of a group of women, including several Tonbridge School parents, who recently climbed Mount Kilimanjaro to help raise funds, and also held a fundraising dinner at the School. “We cannot thank Tonbridge enough for all the support you have given,” she said. “All of your efforts help raise awareness, make families feel more supported and make a significant difference to those affected. Thank you.”
The pink theme continued throughout the day, with pink sweets sold at breaktime, and the Catering Department making pink cakes and desserts. As the light faded, the School Chapel was lit in pink while boys attended a screening of the Barbie movie in the EM Forster Theatre.
To encourage boys to embrace recycling when choosing their costumes, the School set up two charity stalls selling second-hand pink clothing sourced from the local Demelza Hospice charity shop, with all proceeds supporting the work of Demelza Hospice.
Teacher of Biology, Aisha Cooper, delivered a special “Thank Science It's Friday” talk about the different levels of mutations in DNA and how they can potentially lead to harmful effects for the human body.
For the second year, pupils from Hilden Grange Preparatory School also joined in with Pink Day. Tonbridge boys helped to decorate the front of the school, and two prefects spoke in Hilden Grange’s assembly about why Pink Day is important.
Throughout Pink Day, boys are encouraged to discuss the subject of cancer and, above all, to feel at ease while doing so. They are also reminded to check their own bodies for any changes, learning that early diagnosis is a key to successful treatments. Boys are also taught the importance of talking to someone, and asking for support if needed.
Donations can be still be made via the JustGiving page.