12th October 2011

National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) and Westpac make a wish to find a cure with 8,000 pink paper cranes.

NBCF’s Register4 urges women to become members and participate in its first breast cancer research project.

The National Breast Cancer Foundation (NCBF) and Westpac today unveiled more than 8,000 pink paper cranes in celebration of the first birthday of Register4, NCBF’s online community for volunteer breast cancer research participants.

Based on the Japanese custom that believes folding 1000 origami paper cranes will make a wish come true, Westpac’s installation of 8,247 pink paper cranes represents a wish for each female staff member working in Westpac Retail Bank to help find a cure for breast cancer.

Since launching last October, Register4 has acquired over 25 000 members, but is looking for more women (and men) to join the online community to spear head significant research projects – the first of which was launched today. The Baseline Health & Lifestyle Questionnaire was developed by some of Australia’s leading cancer researchers to investigate the potential links between breast cancer and factors such as, lifestyle and genetics. Register4 hopes that as many of its members as possible will complete the survey as every piece of information goes towards helping answer questions about breast cancer and ultimately finding a cure.

Sarah Murdoch, Patron of the National Breast Cancer Foundation and Chair of Register4’s Women’s Advisory Network said, “Register4 facilitates everyday Australians to make an individual contribution towards finding a cure for breast cancer, simply by donating their time. Register4 hopes to accrue the critical mass of participants needed to initiate significant research projects. Finding the right people to participate in research is extremely time consuming and can often take years for scientists. The recruiting process to locate large groups of women to participate in research projects can also be extremely costly.”

Gail Kelly, Westpac CEO said, “I'm very proud of the role Westpac staff have played in building awareness of this important research initiative. Since the launch of Register4 12 months ago, almost 7% of all registrations or 1660 of members heard about the register directly through Westpac. I will continue to play an active role in encouraging greater staff participation to ensure that the 8,247 pink paper cranes will eventually no longer be just a symbolic representation of our involvement in the register”.

The Baseline Health & Lifestyle Questionnaire is a piece of epidemiological research that examines the occurrence, distribution, and control of disease within in a population. The questionnaire will ask participants about their medical history, reproductive history, breast cancer and screening, the pill and hormone  replacement therapy, exercise and general health and lifestyle. By examining a wide breadth of the population, researchers can investigate the potential links between areas such as lifestyle, genetics, or other factors within populations, play a part in the development of cancer.

Carole Renouf, Chief Executive Officer NBCF, said “We are so excited to announce the release of our first online Health & Lifestyle Questionnaire today.  There is a hope that the Register4 database will become an invaluable resource for the research community to draw upon. The results from similar initiatives overseas have been substantial.

We know that women want to help in a variety of ways, whether this means giving money or giving of their time and personal information.  Breast cancer is still the most common cancer affecting Australian women and it is on the rise. Register4 enables participants to make a tangible contribution towards helping to find a cure for breast cancer by making research happen faster”, Renouf said.

Sarah Murdoch, Gail Kelly and Carole Renouf were joined by Professor John Hopper and nine breast cancer survivors to unveil the pink paper cranes this morning at Westpac's historical branch at 341 George Street Sydney. The installation will stay in branch until Friday 14th October to draw the attention of staff and customers to join Register4 and help find a cure for breast cancer. The cranes will then be moved to the Westpac Building at 275 Kent St for the rest of October. NBCF’s Pink Ribbons will be available in every Westpac branch throughout the month of October.

About Register4

Register4 is an initiative of the National Breast Cancer Foundation and is Australia’s first online community for volunteer breast cancer research participants. Register4 is an enduring and generational resource which has an aspirational aim of securing one million passionate members who will help facilitate and fast-track breast cancer research. To become a member only takes a few minutes by signing up online. Register4 will then get in touch with participants if there is an approved research project, always leaving the level of participation in the research up to the individual, who can choose which projects they would like to express interest in participating in.

For more information please visit www.register4.org.au