After a visit to her homeland to judge the 2013 Great Australian Bake Off, Kerry was approached about serving as the high-profile national ambassador for Ovarian Cancer Australia. Because of her culinary notoriety, as well as her affinity for tea, they believed she would be the ideal choice to promote Afternoon Teals, the organization’s program for hosting afternoon teas to raise awareness as well as funds for research. (Teal is the color associated with the disease.)
“Being that tea is something I enjoy, it didn’t take long to convince me,” she explains. Her own mother battled this form of cancer for 15 years before succumbing to it, so for Kerry, this cause is quite personal. “If I can help save just one person’s life by reminding everyone about early detection, it will be worthwhile,” she says, the passion evident in her voice. “Awareness is key. You’re not immune just because you’re 12 or because you’ve had a hysterectomy or a Pap smear (which does not detect ovarian cancer).”
Afternoon Teals are usually held during February, Australia’s annual Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. During the promotion’s inaugural year, there were 300 teals, and just two years later, in 2016, the count has grown to 575. Those wishing to host a teal can register their event at afternoonteal.net.au , and they will receive a kit to help plan and promote the event. Although there is nothing comparable in the United States during September, National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, Kerry encourages tea lovers everywhere to host a teal. “It doesn’t matter to me if it’s someone putting a billy [kettle] on the fire in the Outback or someone hosting an elegant afternoon tea in the city.” Funds are needed for research and awareness worldwide, she adds. And what better way to do it than with a nice cup of tea?