Rockers for Knockers ball raises $9000

ARARAT - The Rockers for Knockers ball has raised around $9000 for the Breast Cancer Network Australia.

Organiser and breast cancer survivor Kelli Holtham-Felini is thrilled with the result and while numbers were slightly down on what she expected, the 320 people who rocked the night away to the sounds of four bands and purchased auction items helped boost the fundraising figure.

"Everything ran the best I could have expected it to," she said.

"The funds we raised were in the ball park and will go close to $9000 - we've still got a few donations to come in. I had a figure of $10,000 and given the numbers were down I was pretty happy with that."

Ms Holtham-Felini said there were a number of highlights of the night.

"The highlight was seeing quite a few women there who are either battling, have had, or are surviving (breast cancer)," she said.

"We had the support of Sarah Carter, the breast care nurse here in town, and it was being able to bring a whole lot of us together."

The four bands who played on the night, Last Stand, Black Rose, The Spatts and Church of the Leaking Chicken were also a highlight, some of whom formed especially for the event.

"They all donated their time, they were happy to be there," Ms Holtham-Felini said.

Ms Holtham-Felini thanked the Y's Mennettes for catering, the Ararat Eagles Football Club for running the bar and Trevor Wollard for emceeing the night.

The success of the night could see the ball become a regular event.

"I won't do it yearly, but I would like to do it every two years," Ms Holtham-Felini said.

"I'm very passionate about it.

"Overall, I couldn't have been happier, there were lots of nice pink frocks and lots of nice pink accessories and the bands were amazing."

Next on the horizon for Ms Holtham-Felini will be the Mother's Day Classic, of which she will be ambassador in 2014.

"Our rate of breast cancer here in Ararat is high. It doesn't discriminate and it seems to be getting 'young' people - young being before 50," she said.

She said that on average the statistics show that 10 Ararat women a year are diagnosed with breast cancer.

"It's an epidemic, an absolute epidemic. One in four are going to be touched by it, whether it's actually going to be diagnosed or it's a sister or mother or auntie. It's huge, it's really big."

While counting herself as a survivor, Ms Holtham-Felini's breast cancer journey continues.

"I feel well, I've had surgery before Christmas to remove my Fallopian tubes and ovaries, which was a knee jerk reaction to reduce the risk (of ovarian cancer) for me," she said.

"To me it was a no brainer to get rid of them. The Tomoxifen that I'm on for the breast cancer that I've got can set down ovarian cancer so it was just a no brainer."

Another step in the journey is to undergo gene testing, given that her sister Sherri Holtham was also diagnosed with breast cancer last year.

With four daughters between the two sisters, as well as sons, the gene testing is something Ms Holtham-Felini believes has to be done.

"Fingers crossed it's just coincidence and bad luck (that the two sisters have had breast cancer) and it very well could be, which will be my biggest sigh of relief," she said.

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