Team Teal - Harnessing the Strength of the Sports Community

15 Feb 2023
Across six weeks in February and March each year, reinswomen race in teal pants to raise awareness and much needed funds for ovarian cancer when they secure first place across the finish line in WomenCan’s Team Teal campaign. A unique collaboration between the harness racing industry and a gynaecological cancer research organisation, we look into the campaign and how it has evolved over the years.

Where it began

Duncan McPherson, OAM created Team Teal in memory of his wife Lyn, who passed away from ovarian cancer in 2010. In her failing health, Lyn and her family began to fundraise for ovarian cancer, utilising her husband Duncan’s passion for harness racing. Duncan co-founded Team Teal with fellow owners and harness racing trainers, Michael Taranto and Jim Conolly.

Duncan’s strong ties to the Victorian Harness Racing industry allowed the campaign to develop in Victoria, by 2016 Team Teal crossed the border with Harness Racing New South Wales embracing the campaign. The remaining Harness Racing associations across the country joined Team Teal, with New Zealand coming on board in 2018.

Team Teal was initially known as ‘Teal Pants’, fundraising for the Women’s Cancer Foundation (WCF). Over the years the campaign grew and in 2017 both WCF and ANZGOG merged in 2017. This merge also triggered significant growth, with Team Teal becoming the new name for this wonderful initiative championed by the harness racing industry.

The McPherson Family 

Why February 

February marks the beginning of ovarian cancer awareness month every year on 1 February, a significant date in our calendar, so it makes sense for Team Teal to launch marks the beginning of ovarian cancer awareness month, the Team Teal campaign is launched.

Standing in solidarity with ovarian cancer, reinswomen across Australia and New Zealand race in teal pants to support the campaign. Funds are raised from every Team Teal reinswoman win throughout the campaign period, and also from community fundraising events at harness racing clubs.

Since its inception, Team Teal has collectively raised over $2.9 million from the harness racing community. The money that was raised used to fund ANZGOG’s research and education programs, including Survivors Teaching Students.

Team Teal continues to grow year on year and is now aiming to expand into the wider sports industry. The campaign brings a unique opportunity to promote ovarian cancer to a broader sporting community and continue to increase its impact.   

WomenCan is forever grateful for the support of the Team Teal community and looks forward to many more successful campaigns in the future.