Breast cancer might not come up much in high-level boardroom meetings, but the new head of the McGrath Foundation wants to put it firmly on the agenda.
Former pay TV boss Petra Buchanan says that with the breast cancer charity’s 10th anniversary approaching, it’s time to diversify its fundraising base and tap into the big end of town for donations.
Each year, thousands of Australians donate to the foundation, which also receives government grants and benefits from corporate sponsorships.
But with the government tightening its budget purse strings, Ms Buchanan is keenly aware of the need to broaden the charity’s funding base.
“Working with corporations is a big opportunity for us,” she told AAP.
“It’s a big call out, a big shout out to corporate Australia and smaller organisations to see how can we work together.”
The charity relies on donations to pay for specialist nurses to support breast cancer patients across Australia.
Each nurse costs $370,000 to fund for three years.
Their main role is to co-ordinate care for patients as well as provide support and information for them and their families.
The foundation currently is working towards raising money for its 101st breast care nurse.
“Clearly, 100 nurses is not enough,” Ms Buchanan said.
“We need to be able to help more people. Our goal is to create more nursing roles and get more funding to put them into the community.”
Ms Buchanan says she knows first hand how beneficial the nurses can be after the care her mother received when she successfully battled the disease in 2007.
“It really did shine a light on the power of what having a breast care nurse can mean,” she said.
“It was a person for her to ask questions and get information and not in a way that was too technical.”
Forty two Australians are diagnosed with breast cancer each day. It is estimated that there will be 17,000 cases a year by 2020.
Ms Buchanan will start work on July 7 at the foundation, which was set up by Australian cricketer Glenn McGrath and his wife Jane in 2005 after she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Ms Buchanan ran the Australian Subscription Television and Radio Association (ASTRA) for four years and has held executive roles with the Discovery Channel and Unisys.