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Cups Against Cancer

There are lots of ways to raise money to fight cancer. You can participate in a Relay For Life® event, join your local Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk, hold a bake sale, or simply knock on doors. In the funky Heights district of Houston, American Cancer Society supporters are helping finish the fight by … bedazzling bras.

It’s A Brazarre!How Brazarre!

That’s the name of the annual beautiful bra auction conducted by an American Cancer Society Relay for Life of Greater Heights team. In 3 years, Brazarre has raised more than $20,000 for the American Cancer Society and our mission of helping people stay well, get well, find cures, and fight back against cancer. It’s also made people laugh, cry and want to do more for the cause.

Every year, Houston-area artists are asked to donate an artful, 3-dimensional bra incorporating at least part of an actual brassiere. When finished, the piece need not be wearable or functional but should at least vaguely resemble a bra. The creations inevitably turn out original, imaginative and stunning. There are bras made of flowers, screws, honeycombs (with flying “boob bees”) and even a pair of strategically placed pink baseball gloves.


Created with flickr slideshow.

The creations are sold along with merchant donations and baked goods (yes, bra cakes!). Despite the potential tangents, organizers keep Brazarre family friendly with the emphasis on the bras.

“It’s great fun,” says event founder Vicki Eaker, an IT project manager by day. “It started out as an art show to raise money and awareness, but it was immediately clear it was way more than that. We have lots of survivors who just love the event, and they get artists they know to create a piece. Those artists get more people to attend, and those new crowds donate and spread the word. It’s a really cool, meaningful event. I had thought ‘simple fundraiser’ at the beginning, but I was wrong.”

Each artist supplies a written narrative with their creation, some of which bring patrons to tears. Like the one that accompanied a plaster cast of the artist’s chest covered by a Victorian lace bra. One cup was full, the other empty. Although bras suggest breasts, Brazarre embraces the fight against all kinds of cancer, such as the melanoma that took Eaker’s father: “My dad would have thought this event was the funniest thing ever.”

Eaker got the idea for Brazarre after seeing some painted, glitter-dusted bras at a craft show. As a longtime arts lover with many artist friends, she immediately saw the possibilities of taking the concept to the next level. Since she was already involved in Relay events, the American Cancer Society was a natural beneficiary. Every year, her team tweaks the show a little bit to improve the event and the results. Next year, they’ll be offering a corporate sponsorship to cover the costs and raise additional funds for the society.

“It’s a wonderful event, it’s fun, and it’s funny, and we have a great time with it,” says Eaker. “It’s family friendly, so it’s a kids' event, but it’s also a girl’s night out event. Oh, and it’s the ultimate date night.”

Bra-vo!

•••

The fourth annual Brazarre is next May. Follow the event here.

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I just had my 19th “More Birthday.” Each one has been step by step reached and appreciated. To all my family, friends that are family, thank you for walking step by step with me.
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