#PurpleOurWorld was founded in October 2014, just three weeks before the inaugural World Pancreatic Cancer Day.
In August, 2014, our family lost a very special person – wife, mother, nana, daughter, sister, aunt, niece, cousin and friend – Rochelle Goulburn. She fought pancreatic cancer for a staggering 16 months.
From the date of Rochelle’s diagnosis and throughout her treatment, as her husband, daughters and sisters, we found that there was very little support for, and awareness of, pancreatic cancer.
So, we decided to do something about it, in the hopes that people going through what we went through don’t feel alone.
We decided we had to get the world talking about pancreatic cancer.
We decided to purple our world.
Our mission is simple: get everyone we could reach to wear something purple and share a picture on social media using our hashtag, #PurpleOurWorld.
In 2014, our overwhelming success proved the power of social media. With only three weeks and a shareable message, we were amazed by how many people took part. Our message went global, and many Australian well-known personalities re-tweeted, shared on Facebook and posted on Instagram.
For 2015, we decided we had to take #PurpleOurWorld to the next level.
We began talks with journalist Tracey Spicer and NRL legend Robbie Farah, both of whom lost their mothers to the disease. Both came on board as #PurpleOurWorld ambassadors.
We partnered with four charities who are doing amazing things in the pancreatic cancer space:
- Avner Pancreatic Cancer Foundation
- Garvan Research Foundation
- GI Cancer Institute
- Pancare Foundation
Together with our strategic partners and Cancer Australia, we formed the Australian Pancreatic Cancer Alliance, a collaborative voice raising awareness of pancreatic cancer in Australia with a long-term view of increasing donor funds to support research.
Several corporates supported our cause, with ANZ, Ramsay Health Care, Qantas, Gelato Messina and Pearsons Florist sharing our message with their staff and social media followers, turning their websites purple for the day and even creating a #PurpleOurWorld ice cream flavour.
And then, we truly took our message global, joining 54 organisations from around the world in Orlando, Florida to launch the World Pancreatic Cancer Coalition. Currently, #PurpleOurWorld sits on the World Pancreatic Cancer Day Committee, helping to organise and coordinate the global approach to pancreatic cancer awareness.
In 2016, it was bigger and better, with even more corporate organisations coming on board and a bigger and better global message being shared. Westfield shared graphics on digital screens nationwide, exposing WPCD to more than 1.5 million people. ANZ again shared stories on their intranet, as did Insurance Australia Group. Ramsay Health Care changed their social media channels to purple and shared key messages for the month of November. And for the second year, Gelato Messina sold the #PurpleOurWorld flavour.
Well, if 2016 was big, then 2017 was huge! In case you missed it, together with the Pancreatic Cancer Alliance, we lit up the sails of the iconic Sydney Opera House. Yep, you read that right. On the eve of WPCD, the sails shined purple for pancreatic cancer. We also took the Westfield message global, with screens across Australia, the UK and the USA, including the World Trade Centre, sharing information about pancreatic cancer. Ramsay Health Care jumped on board again as did Gelato Messina. On WPCD, dozens of Federal and State Ministers shared messages of support and Members of NSW Parliament wore purple ribbons. The Qantas Cabin Crew Cancer Support group also helped out, sharing messages on their social media channels.
World Pancreatic Cancer Day 2018 takes place on Thursday 15 November. Save the Date and keep an eye out. There are big things happening!