The objective of the Purple Boot Brigade is to support education and awareness programs across the nation, with our first project supporting the great work of Breast Cancer Care WA (formerly the Breast Cancer Foundation of WA) as they target youth to make the younger generation breast aware. With the number of women being diagnosed with breast cancer increasing from one-in-eleven to one-in-nine over recent years, the need for breast awareness education from a young age is vital.
In early 2007, Breast Cancer Care WA worked with the Department of Education and Training WA to produce the ‘Breast Cancer Awareness Learning Resource for Secondary Schools’ which is easily incorporated into the health and education curriculum.
The resource is highly informative, educational, as well as concise and easy to understand. It is full of simple facts and advice for teachers on how to convey the information in an effective and positive manner. It covers a wide range of topics including what breast cancer is, how to support a family member or friend who is diagnosed with breast cancer, and how to be breast aware. The resource also educates students about the support services available, and that the journey does not need to be walked alone. The online Teachers’ Manual is accompanied by a DVD containing video interviews with people who have had an experience with breast cancer in their lives.
The Breast Cancer Awareness Learning Resource was distributed to 364 schools October 2007, receiving extremely positive feedback from the teaching community already!
In early 2010 we released an online version of the resource for use in all other states around Australia. We are also in the process of examining results from our national Breast iQ breast awareness quiz, which will assist in the development of new eductaion initiatives.
Watch this space!
With one in nine Australian women being diagnosed with breast cancer, the importance of providing support services and promoting the early detection message has never been so important.
With this in mind, Breast Cancer Care WA and Steel Blue created the Purple Boot Brigade(tm) campaign. $20 from the purchase of each pair of exclusive Steel Blue purple boots is donated to support Breast Cancer Care WA's education and awareness programs across Australia.
It is often said that ‘from little things big things grow’ and this was true for the journey of the Purple Boot.
Setting: The Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards 2006.
Lead characters: Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award finalists Ros Worthington CEO and founder of Breast Cancer Care WA (formerly the Breast Cancer Foundation of WA) and Ross Fitzgerald co-founder and Australian sales manager from Steel Blue.
A dinner conversation among the lateral thinking finalists was in full swing when a female voice asked…
Ros Worthington: Do Steel Blue make work boots for women?
Ross Fitzgerald: Of course we do!
In true entrepreneurial style Ross described their female boot range.
Ros Worthington: But do you make a purple boot for breast cancer?
Forks were put down and wine glasses hovered near lips as the question hung in the air waiting for an answer….
Ross went home that night musing over Ros’ question and in the morning knew a partnership between Steel Blue and Breast Cancer Care WA was the perfect solution.
Ros was checking her emails when her phone rang.
Ros Worthington: Good morning this is Ros Worthington.
Ross Fitzgerald: Ros, the answer is yes! Steel Blue does make a purple boot for breast cancer, or they do now!
Preliminary meetings were underway immediately.
A week later Ros addressed a breakfast called ‘Women with a Social Conscience’ and told the story of the Purple Boot.
Engineers Australia staff attending the breakfast saw the opportunity to work with a women’s charity as part of its ‘2007 Year of Women in Engineering’ initiative. By promoting the Purple Boot – they would help raise money and awareness of breast cancer.
Engineers Australia also saw the Purple Boot campaign as an opportunity for the booming engineering industry to demonstrate its commitment to the community and fulfil its corporate social responsibility.
And so the Purple Boot was born...
Word of the Purple Boot Brigade soon spread across Australia and captured the imagination of amazing people in all types of industries. In no time the purple Steel Blue boots were showing up at safety shows in major cities, on the feet of sporting and media celebrities across the nation and at events from capital cities to outback towns in NT & South Australia.
Ross was looking at the first month’s sales for purple boots in WA and realised that production would have to be dramatically increased to keep up with demand across our great nation and called an urgent meeting.
Ross Fitzgerald: Team, we need to get moving on manufacturing more of that purple leather! Call the tannery in New Zealand, get the manufacturing revved up – we’re now on track to raise over half a million dollars by this time next year!
The team got moving in no time and orders kept rolling in. The Purple Boot Brigade was officially taking Australia by storm!
A few weeks later the Steel Blue team received a call from Fleming's Nursery staff out of Victoria.
Liz (Fleming’s): Hi there, I’ve just called to let you know that I am in love with the new Steel Blue women’s work boots and wanted to say just how great they are!
Vanessa (Steel Blue): Well thanks for the call Liz – but if you like our boots you are going to LOVE the ‘Purple Boot Brigade’ ….
The conversation continued and in no time Fleming’s leader, Wes Fleming, and his faithful off-sider, Leanne Gillies, were organising the Fleming’s Trailfinders Australian Garden Crew to join the Brigade! Within just weeks the team departed Melbourne airport decked out in their colorful pink and purple outfits to represent Australia at the ‘Olympics of the horticulture industry’ event in London. After much effort and with muddied boots under their team suits, the team got to shake hands with the Queen of England after receiving a Silver-Gilt award for their stunning Australian garden.
But as interest in the Purple Boot Brigade spread across London the team realised the project had true global appeal – why not take the Brigade across the Globe!? The search began for breast cancer charities and Steel Blue distributors that would work together to increase awareness and save the lives of women and men affected by breast cancer across the world.
So how can you get in on the act?
Read on to find out more…