Our friend Mandy just participated in the 10th Annual Brighton Beach Marilyn Jetty Swim. She and 512 other local dames donned blonde wigs, bright red lipstick, oversized sunglasses and white swimwear prior to jumping into the water.
Mandy had good reason to participate. In 2020, her 27-year old daughter was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer. The spunky young woman named her cancer Gary. Mandy’s friends came together to swim for Imogene in 2021 and named themselves Team FOG (short for “Fuck off, Gary.”) The good news? Two years later it looks like Gary has taken the hint and has, indeed, fucked off, but Mandy and her friends continue to participate in the Marilyn Jetty Swim to raise money for cancer research.
Here’s how the Australian Broadcasting Corporation described it:
The event has raised $1 million for Cancer Council SA since its inception, including more than $220,000 this year alone.
Founding Marilyn, Sarah Tinney, started the event after losing her mother to cancer in 2007.
She believed dressing up as the iconic Marilyn Monroe was an empowering and fun way to raise money for cancer research.
“Every year when I see new Marilyns come, and they have their stories and I can see where they are at, they’re at day one of losing somebody they love,” Ms Tinney said.
“I go back there, and I know exactly how they’re feeling.
“And I love that there’s something that we can all do together, even if it’s kind of wild and not what you expect … because grief isn’t orderly, grief isn’t predictable.
“Grief’s a little bit weird as well.”
Reaching the $1 million fundraising milestone was “very surreal” for Ms Tinney.
“Nobody could have anticipated this kind of growth,” she said.
The event attracted people of all ages from across the country to support the cause, most donning blonde curls and wearing Monroe’s trademark sunglasses and white swimsuit.
One woman travelled from Cairns to take part.
“I had breast cancer five years ago, so I know it’s a worthy cause,” she said.
“I’m right behind everyone and these gorgeous, blonde bombshells.”
Surf Living SA kept a watchful eye on those who swam or paddled around the jetty as part of the annual 400 metre swim, turning the ocean into a sea of smiling faces and inflatable swim rings.
In order to lend an air of historical authenticity and sophistication to the event, I’m thinking of starting a John F. Kennedy Jetty Swim immediately following the Marilyn Jetty Swim. Everyone who enters will be required to wear a bushy brown wig and swim with a cigar in his mouth. Each Kennedy impersonator will then be required to perform mouth to mouth resuscitation on one of the Marilyn impersonators.
This is going to be an event you don’t want to miss, Mandy.