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Targeting Cancer: Bras for Cause fundraiser lifts up cancer survivors

Photo courtesy MJ’s Photography and Lydia Gillis Photography.

When Laura Winner was diagnosed with breast cancer, she didn’t know that she would meet some amazing women with similar stories of survival, through her own experience. Or that she would be one of 10 red carpet survivors honored at the Bras for Cause celebration, known as Girls Night Out.

“At first, when they said we would be featured in a fashion show at the event, I thought. ‘I’m out of my comfort zone,’” Laura said, during a photo shoot at the Hyatt Place Hotel in Eugene. “Then I figured, I’ve survived cancer—I should just do life, whatever comes my way.”

Fellow cancer survivor Kelly Barton said of the photo shoot for Girls Night Out: “We had our makeup done, our hair done and picked out clothes donated by Chico’s and White House Black Market. It’s been a real treat.”

Girls Night Out is the big, annual finale for the Bras for Cause campaign, a benefit for Oregon Cancer Foundation (OCF), which provides immediate financial assistance to patients undergoing cancer treatment in Lane County.

“Because we’re small and local, we can be a lot more responsive to local patients,” said OCF Executive Director Amy Johnston. “The financial assistance process is intentionally very simple and straightforward, and it’s designed to eliminate roadblocks to optimal treatment for patients, so they can focus on getting well.”

Rallying the community

Bras for Cause is a community fundraiser that started seven years ago with a simple concept: invite people to decorate bras, put them on display and encourage the community to vote for their favorites. The campaign has raised more than $125,000 to-date, and has had a significant impact in the lives of local patients who weren’t prepared for a cancer diagnosis.

“It’s not just the financial part; it’s knowing that the foundation is there to help in other ways, like through its Survivorship Series. If you’re not sure where to find resources, the foundation will help you with that. And that’s huge,” Kelly said.

The women say they are truly touched by the outpouring of support from the community during this year’s Bras for Cause campaign and humbled to be recognized as survivors of a disease that touches so many lives.

“Being with other survivors is always an encouragement, regardless of where they’re at in their journey with cancer,” Laura said. “Because every day that a survivor gets up is another day they’re putting their foot forward and saying, ‘Cancer’s not taking that from me.’”

Upcoming Bras for Cause events

Now that all the bras have been created for this year’s Bras for Cause fundraiser, it’s time to rally the community to cast their votes. Voting happens Oct. 1 – 31, online at brasforcause.org. $1 = 1 vote, and you can vote as many times as you’d like.

Creations revealed

Come see all the colorful bra entries on display at the annual Reveal Party at Dandelions Flowers & Gifts on Monday, Oct. 1. This event is free to attend and fun for the whole family.

• When: Monday, Oct. 1, 4-6 p.m.

• Where: Dandelions Flowers & Gifts, 1710 Chambers St., Eugene

• Vote in store and online at brasforcause.org

Don’t miss the fun finale

Bras for Cause culminates with the Girls Night Out celebration. Grab your girlfriends, sisters and mothers, and celebrate at this woman-inspired event. Enjoy dinner, music, a silent auction, games and a fashion show, featuring local cancer survivors. This event sells out quickly, so get your tickets while they last!

• When: Friday, Nov. 2, 6 p.m.

• Where: Venue 252 at 252 Lawrence St., Eugene

• Tickets: $50/each. Tickets available at brasforcause.org.

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