By AMBER POMPA
With the arrival of October, people will soon begin to decorate their doorsteps will all things spooky, but more than doorsteps are being decorated this month.
Bras, bustiers and bikini tops will soon find themselves adorned with all manner of decorative devices in order to raise money for the third annual Bras for the Cause event, to be held Oct. 13 in downtown.
The brainchild of Janeen Cunningham, Bras for the Cause seeks to ensure that no one going through breast cancer treatment is alone and unable to meet the needs of their medical care.
First hosted in the Calico Cat in 2009, this yearly event has found a permanent place in downtown and a place to extend its favor, the Hunt Regional Medical Center.
Thanks to money raised during Bras for the Cause, the hospital now houses a special fitting room called Janice’s Closet, and money raised during the event has become the financial catalyst for the medical supplies housed within.
In 2009, Bras for the Cause raised $3,000, with Janeen underwriting the cost of the event, something she does every year. The following year raised more than $25,000, thanks to corporate sponsorships, individual donations and money raised during the event. This year the goal is to raise $20,000, though Janeen is confident that they will surpass their goal again this year.
On Oct. 13, downtown will become a showcase for all the bra creations to promote awareness of the need for medical care for breast cancer patients. These elaborately decorated bras are put on display throughout downtown, with anyone being able to participate in not only the bra creation process, but also the voting process to declare the night’s winner.
Popular past creations have been made with paint, fabric, beads, jewels, feathers and even copper.
“It’s a chance to be creative, use and represent your hobby, business, special interests or your personality,” said Cunningham, Bras for the Cause Chairperson. “Doing a pun or play on words surrounding bras is quite popular. The only requirement is to keep it all ‘G’ rated.”
Store-bought bras of any size and color, bras made from scratch, swimsuit tops or bustiers can be used, along with any theme, materials or ideas, so long as they’re in good taste.
It is suggested by Cunningham that entries have a clever title and a way to display the bra using a hanger, mannequin, frame or some way to mount it on a wall. Cunningham also suggest that if anyone is having trouble coming up with ideas, to check out last year’s bras at www.calicocatgreenville.com.
This year, entries are to be turned in at Landon Winery, 2508 Lee Street, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 11 and 12.
The actual Bras for the Cause event will begin downtown at 6 p.m. with most of the activities taking place at Calico Cat. During voting hours, people can cast their purchased ballots for their favorite bras. Ballots can be purchased for $1 with no limit on the number purchased. Ballots will be available at Calico Cat and bras will be on display between the Blue Armadillo Winery, the Uptown Forum and Landon Winery. Ballots should be returned to the Uptown Forum or given to one of the designated committee runners, whereupon they will be tallied.
The non-profit beneficiary of the this year’s event is the Hunt Regional Healthcare Foundation. All of the money raised will go to help provide supplies for Janice’s Closet, such as wigs and breast prostheses.
Janice’s Closet, located at Hunt Regional Medical Center (HRMC), is a fitting room for mastectomy products for Hunt County residents unable to provide these items for themselves.
“The start-up cost for the closet were surprisingly expensive,” said Cunningham. “A woman benefitting from our program could receive as much as $1,000 worth of supplies to help her with her journey battling breast cancer.”
The proceeds from last year’s event went to build the closet, equip it with everything necessary and paid for the training of two hospital employees to be prosthesis fitters. The cost to keep the closet equipped with the necessary supplies for women, all of whom take treatment at the Lou and Jack Finney Cancer Center, is considerable, therefore Cunningham and the Bras for the Cause committee chose the foundation to again be this year’s beneficiary.
Cunningham in emphatic when she says this is not a “ladies only” event.
“It’s a time for everyone to contribute a bra or make a vote, but most importantly, being together to support this important program,” she said. “So invite a friend, co-worker or family member to join you on this night and bring those dollar bills in to vote.”
The winner(s) will be announced at Landon Winery at approximately 9 p.m. that same night. In addition, the artist who raises the most money will be announced.
Corporate sponsors have already committed to providing the display boards for the creations.
According to Cunnhingham, this is a night where everyone can enjoy a fun event in downtown Greenville and do something special for women with breast cancer.
“It doesn’t matter if you vote with $1 or with $1,000, it all goes to the program,” she said. “Not one cent of the money donated to Bras for the Cause goes to host the event; that all comes through other donations.”
For more information, contact Janeen Cunningham at 903-408-9923 or by email at email@example.com.
More information can be found at www.calicocatgreenville.com or on the Bras for the Cause, Greenville, TX Facebook page.