Greyhound Trainer Tells Of Personal Connection
Greyhound trainer and breast cancer survivor Connie McMillan is delighted that the 2014 Go The Pink Dog campaign has exceeded expectations and raised $69,000 for the McGrath Foundation.
A total of 138 greyhounds wearing the pink number eight rug won a greyhound race in Victoria during April, each earning a $500 donation from Greyhound Racing Victoria to help the McGrath Foundation in its mission to make young Australian women ‘breast aware’ and place more McGrath Breast Care Nurses in communities around Australia.
Connie is a tough woman. She plays down her breast cancer battle while running a greyhound farm on her own in Drouin, which is half an acre in size.
“I’m very lucky because my breast cancer is the best type of breast cancer to have. I’ve had radiotherapy but I didn’t have to have chemo, so I was very fortunate,” she said.
“But in saying that being diagnosed with something like this has taught me not to take life for granted. It has given me a new perspective on life.”
Connie has eight greyhounds at home, including two race dogs and a combination of broodmatrons and young pups that she is preparing for a career on the track.
“The doctors are great, but McGrath Breast Care Nurses specialise in breast cancer. They break down some of the terminology used by doctors and also help you deal with the emotional side of it” – CONNIE McMILLAN
On top of this she works 30 hours a week running the canteen at the cattle sales next to the Warragul Greyhound Racing Club.
“I look at my work as my hobby, and greyhounds as my lifestyle.”
“My work pays for my greyhounds and my whole life basically revolves around my greyhounds. I always look forward to their next trial or their next race, I just love their gentle nature and watching them compete.”
“They get me out of bed each day and two mornings a week I have to start work at the canteen at 6:30am, so I’m up at 4:30am on those days feeding and exercising my dogs. It’s an early start, but I love it,” Connie said.
Connie’s personal experience with breast cancer led her to a connection with the McGrath Foundation that extends beyond Go The Pink Dog.
She has formed a relationship with Kath Munroe, who is based at Connie’s local hospital in Warragul.
“Kath is employed by the McGrath Foundation. When she first contacted me I was a bit reluctant to meet with her, but she has been a great help to me,” she said.
“The doctors are great, but McGrath Breast Care Nurses specialise in breast cancer, and Kath has been able to break down some of the terminology my doctors use and also help me deal with the emotional side of having breast cancer.”
“It has been great to have another female to talk about this with.”
Go The Pink Dog is in its fifth year, and a combined total in excess of $350,000 has been raised by the initiative in that time.
“I’m just really proud to be part of an industry that is supporting such a worthwhile cause,” she said.