Pink Week Freshers' Fair stallAbbie Strain with permission for Varsity

Cambridge recently marked the tenth anniversary of Pink Week, a student-led charitable initiative dedicated to raising funds and awareness for breast cancer charities. A week of events, including bar nights, quizzes, life-drawing and formals across the University may be over, but for president Lauren Herd, this is just the beginning of the continuation of Nina Rauch’s legacy. The Clare student founded the organisation in 2014, inspired by her mother’s battle with cancer. As the week came to a close, I had the opportunity to speak with Lauren, who transitioned from being a college representative to becoming the University-wide committee president. In our conversation, she shared her personal connection and unparalleled dedication to the cause and the genuine passion that drives the initiative. In December 2021, Lauren’s mum was diagnosed with breast cancer. “It felt like a rug had been pulled out from underneath me,” Lauren told me after sharing that her mum, among many other qualities, is one of the most selfless people she knows, going so far as to wait until after Lauren’s A-level mocks to share her unfortunate news. Lauren also notes that all of the treatment received for the cancer was completely funded by charity donations. “My story is not a new story,” she told me.

“My story is not a new story”

Lauren shared with me two standout events she organised. The first was the Pink Week bar night held on Monday, described as the “perfect fusion” of various Cambridge communities, including the Cambridge University Musical Theatre Society. She expressed to Varsity that hosting this event was a “privilege”, which she did alongside societies liaison Kate Caspari. The party featured a signature pink drink and a diverse lineup of performers, with a percentage of ticket sales contributing to the charity. On the more educational side of the week, Lauren, along with the rest of the committee, organised the Pink Week conference. This provided an opportunity to delve into the latest cancer research and learn more about the charities supporting individuals with breast cancer in Cambridge and across the UK. Lauren sang the praises of Abbie Strain, the education officer, for her dedicated work on the conference. Not only did it align with the pillar of being “brighter”, but it also addressed boldness by creating a space where Black individuals could feel welcome, considering the limited research on their specific experiences. The key takeaway from the event was the significance of building connections and leaving a lasting legacy. Lauren finds it “rewarding to see us united under one ethos and witness the work come to fruition”.

This year, the committee is supporting four main charities. The Leanne Pero Foundation, also known as “Black Women Rising”, is one of them. Additionally, Maggie’s, particularly the local Cambridge branch, was chosen to maintain a close relationship to the community, specifically focusing on individuals undergoing treatment. Future Dreams provides support, while Breast Cancer Now concentrates on clinical research and includes those assigned male at birth, aligning with the pillar of being bolder. Lauren emphasised the committee’s decision not to “cover just one base” and opted for a multifaceted approach in terms of demographics and support.

“We want to make sure everyone knows everything there is to know”

The guiding principles for this year’s week were to make it bigger, brighter and bolder, the president highlighted to me. How did they make it bigger? For the first time, they launched a Michaelmas term card, with a Pink Week launch event spearheaded by Rumboogie to ensure celebrations and fundraising were not just confined to one week. Unfortunately, many other Pink Week societies died out across UK unis due to Covid, but Lauren, in her capacity as president, has reached out to her fellow presidents at Oxford and Durham, who are among those that persist. And as for making it brighter? “We want to make sure everyone knows everything there is to know.” What about being bolder? Pink Week is now more inclusive than ever. Lauren expressed that it’s not solely a women’s issue; individuals assigned male at birth may have direct connections or be diagnosed with breast cancer themselves. Oh, and she proudly wore strikingly bright pink trousers at Downing Pink Week formal, she tells me.

Lauren was adamant about acknowledging all the contributors who made this great achievement possible – be it committee members, college reps, or donors across the University. She emphasised: “It would not have been possible without you.”

“I hope it will be even bigger, brighter and bolder”

It seems Lauren has set a high standard for the tenth anniversary of Pink Week. But how will she sustain this level of commitment and uphold the legacy for Nina Rauch who initiated it years ago? The president’s vision extends beyond the University of Cambridge members, encompassing Cambridge sixth form and ARU students too. Her aspiration is for Pink Week to reach far and wide, becoming a universal movement, because ultimately breast cancer remains an issue that affects everyone.


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Although we collectively aim to ensure Pink Week continues to grow, and to maintain its current vibrancy and boldness, with growth, there’s a risk of losing the essential roots. So, I asked about Lauren’s strategy to stay true to the founder’s intentions. She emphasised that the committee have had the privilege of collaborating with Nina to incorporate her perspective, preserving not only the memory of Nina’s mum but also of all those that have ever been affected. “It’s really empowering that Pink Week was set up ten years ago and ten years later it’s still thriving thanks to the fundraising.”

“I hope that Pink Week will last another ten years and I hope it will be even bigger, brighter and bolder.”

If you wish to donate any money to Cambridge Pink Week 2024, please follow the link here.