Step into the Oregon Cancer Foundation office in Eugene and the first thing you’ll likely notice is a lot of colorful bras.
“We have 24 Bras for Cause entries this year,” says OCF executive director Amy Johnston. “This year’s entries are very unique and creative.”
Adapting to change
The current health crisis forced a few changes to this year’s 9th annual Bras for Cause community campaign. Due to a state-mandated occupancy limit on public gatherings and social distancing concerns, the organization was not able to hold its build-a-bra events that typically kick off Bras for Cause and provide an opportunity for community members to decorate their entry for the fundraiser. Despite that, businesses, teams and individuals created colorful masterpieces on their own and submitted them for entry into the competition.
“We have an incredible community that continues to rally behind us and the cancer patients we serve. And they have built some amazing bras this year. We’re really excited.”
While this year’s reveal party, typically held at Dandelions Flowers & Gifts, was also canceled due to the pandemic, people are still encouraged to vote for their favorite bras at brasforcause.org. One-hundred percent of the money raised helps the foundation support patients undergoing cancer treatment in Lane County through its many programs, including support groups and classes, financial assistance, and its newest service: the Believe Boutique, which is a program that was run by another organization in the community for many years but was at risk of being discontinued.
“We were thrilled to be able to bring the Believe Boutique into our space with the help of our partners at Chambers Construction and Eugene Builder’s Electric,” Johnston says. “The boutique is a place where women can try on wigs, scarves, hats or turbans with help from trained volunteers. We have an array of head coverings to choose from to make them feel a little more comfortable and a little more beautiful while they’re dealing with hair loss due to cancer treatment.”
As with all of OCF’s services, the Believe Boutique is offered to patients free of charge. To make a Believe Boutique appointment, patients can call the OCF office at 541-632-3654.
Bridging the gap
The foundation’s largest area of support to local cancer patients is its financial assistance program, which helps eligible patients by paying up to $500 toward their bills each year.
Johnston says, “We provide more household assistance, in terms of rent or mortgage help, than any other type of assistance. Paying their utility bill is also a big point of stress for families. No matter what else is going on in your life, you really want to keep the lights on.”
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, requests for financial assistance have increased. This year, the foundation has earmarked additional funding to assist cancer patients impacted by the recent wildfires.
“Unfortunately, cancer treatment doesn’t stop for these outside catastrophes,” says OCF program coordinator Andrew King. “People have lost their homes, people have lost their jobs, and we’re really happy and really proud that we can provide that assistance in this critical moment.”
With more cancer survivors needing help in Lane County, raising funds for Oregon Cancer Foundation services through the Bras for Cause campaign is more important than ever.
“It’s necessary to continue our mission. That means we have to get out and raise more money, so that we can continue to fulfill 100% of the applications that we receive,” Johnston says. “I admire the community’s creativity and their ingenuity with their bra entries this year. They are helping to make something beautiful out of something that’s very difficult.”
Head to BrasForCause.org to see this year’s entries and to vote for your favorites through October 31st. $1 = 1 vote and you can vote as many times as you’d like. The goal of this year’s Bras for Cause campaign is to raise $150,000. All proceeds support Lane County Cancer patients through Oregon Cancer Foundation.
A fun finale
Bras for Cause officially wraps up on Friday, Nov. 7th with a fun, virtual Girls Night Out event. Local cancer survivors will be celebrated during this online party, and this year’s bras winners will be announced. The virtual Girls Night Out event is free to attend. Get more information and register at BrasForCause.org.