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Community support for OCF provides hope to patients

 

When Brenda Mills was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016, her diagnosis came with fear and a lot of questions.

“What was chemo going to be like? What was surgery going to be like? Would I be able to continue working? I didn’t know how to react,” Brenda says.

She quickly learned that she was facing more than just medical issues.

“There are a lot of unforeseen bills that arise in this journey. I worried about paying my rent and other expenses. For someone else facing this diagnosis, they may need gas in their car; they may need groceries,” says Brenda. “Knowing that I had come to that point of needing assistance was extremely hard. Knowing that I couldn’t do this on my own, that I couldn’t make it on my own, was tough.”

Brenda found the help she needed through Oregon Cancer Foundation’s Financial Assistance Program—assistance that helped her stay in her apartment.

“For me, it was just having that person who cared on the other end of the phone say, ‘Let me help you. Let us help you.’ And knowing that was coming my way, gave me hope. It meant the world to me.”

A life changing gift
When you make a tax-deductible donation to Oregon Cancer Foundation, your contribution stays right in Lane County and will make a difference today. Your gift not only helps patients financially, but it also gives hope and says, “Someone cares.”

Donations can be made directly online or by downloading our donation form and mailing your contribution to: PO Box 11004, Eugene, Oregon 97440.

Inquiries regarding financial assistance can be emailed to amy@oregoncancerfoundation.org.


Banner year for Bras for Cause campaign

 

Thank you to everyone who participated in and supported the 2017 Bras for Cause campaign to benefit Oregon Cancer Foundation’s Financial Assistance Program. We set a lofty goal of $75,000 and we not only reached it, we exceeded it, raising $79,000!

A year of firsts
This was the sixth year for the Bras for Cause community fundraiser and the first time we kicked off the effort in September, holding the annual Build-a-Bra event, in an effort to build momentum and allow more time for voting.

The Build-a-Bra event was held at Along Came Trudy in Springfield. It was a night of comradery and laughter, as creativity and craft supplies were transformed into works of art, displaying messages of hope and support.

“It’s touching to see so many people come together to support cancer patients in our community,” said OCF executive director Amy Johnston. “The room was filled with people who have seen how cancer changes lives, physically and financially, and they gathered in solidarity to make a real impact.”

When October arrived, voting began online and in-store at Dandelions Flowers & Gifts with the annual reveal party. Throughout the month, 44 individual bras and 17 business bras competed for votes in the form of donations.

We wrapped up Bras for Cause in style with another first—the inaugural Girls Night Out at Venue 252 in Eugene. The crowd at this sold-out event enjoyed games, entertainment, a silent auction, dinner and a program that included a fashion show that featured local cancer survivors, and the highly anticipated BRA-VO awards.

And the award goes to…
Taking home the prize for the top fundraising bra in the individual category was Kristina Frank for her creation, titled “Thousand-Petaled Purple Lotus.”

The award for Most Creative bra went to “Ro-Bra-T” by Jeremy Wilken.

Julie Fadden’s bra, titled “Kicking Cancer Out of the Galaxy,” won the award for Best Name.

Debbie Greene’s creation, titled “Key Points,” earned the award for Best Cancer Support.

The award for the Most Humorous bra went to “Monkey See, Monkey Boobs,” created by Amanda Burd with 104.7 KDUK.

In the business bra category, the voting was fierce, but in the end, the bra that raised the most money overall was “Epic,” created by the Breast Care Team at Northwest Surgical Specialists, earning them the coveted “My Cup Runneth Over” trophy, along with bragging rights.

This year’s Bras for Cause campaign was one for the record books and we look forward to seeing what 2018 brings!

 


Local businesses participating in Bras for Cause

When you step into local businesses during the month of October, look for a colorful bra on display. Seventeen Lane County businesses are participating in this year’s annual Bras for Cause campaign to support cancer survivors through the Oregon Cancer Foundation (OCF).

Creativity for a Cause
When it comes to playing with materials, these businesses went all out. From Creswell DQ’s use of ice cream in a playful theme called “Two Scoops CUPside Down,” to the whimsy of “Under the C” by Pacific Women’s Center and elegant creations by Curves and Along Came Trudy, each business participating in this year’s campaign is dedicated to raising money to support OCF’s Financial Assistance Program.

When Dave Bakke, the president of Chambers Construction and an OCF board member, rallied his team to participate in Bras for Cause, he was met with a resounding ‘Yes!” In fact, Chambers created two bra entries: “Hammer Out Cancer” and “Bra-lesque Marquee“—both with, you guessed it, a construction theme.

“There aren’t many folks here who haven’t been affected by cancer in some way,” said Chambers Construction project engineer Cassandra Dare. “It’s our pleasure to get involved and help out. It was great fun!”

Cancer has also touched the owners, employees and customers of Dari Mart, which is a driving force behind the company’s participation in Bras for Cause. Dari Mart’s creation, titled “On the Moo-v to Cure Cancer,” depicts a farm-to-store theme and represents the company’s commitment to support cancer-related philanthropic events.

“I was looking for an avenue to help people financially with expenses, not covered by insurance, and Oregon Cancer Foundation was a perfect fit,” says Pat Straube. “We already have a theme for next year!”

Messages of hope
In support of cancer patients and the arts, Turell Group pays homage to iconic painter Bob Ross. Titled “Boob Ross,” this Eugene marketing agency’s creation channels his positive, uplifting spirit, which is reflected in the many “happy clouds” and “happy little trees” that inspired generations of artists. The hope behind this bra is that every cancer patient may find strength and hope in nature, creativity and activities that bring them joy.

With a flair for florals and assistance from breast cancer survivor Brenda Mills, the Breast Care Team at Northwest Surgical Specialists based their bra creation around the movie “Epic,” channeling themes of nature, strength and courage.

Willamette Valley Cancer Institute and Research Center’s design, titled “Thanks to the Girls for Supporting Us All,” represents Oregon Cancer Foundation’s mission to offer assistance to patients with all types of cancer.

A community that cares
When The Duck Store gets behind a worthy cause, it’s sure to make a bold statement, and this year’s Bras for Cause entry, titled “Ducks of a Feather,” is right on par.

“Strength in unity is a big part of what we do every day, and we understand the power that can come from that,” said Eric Breitenstein, The Duck Store’s Marketing Team Leader. “Whether it’s wearing pink in solidarity, donating or volunteering, we are excited to do our part to encourage our community to support this unique cause.”

Constructed from feathers (duck-inspired, of course) decorative paper and words of encouragement, this bra is currently on display at The Duck Store’s Valley River Center location through the month of October.

KMTR NBC 16’s feathery design reminds people to get their annual cancer screenings. KOOL 99.1 FM designed a bra inspired by Prince’s Purple Rain, while Creswell Coffee used burlap coffee bags as part of its design “Because Life’s Too Short for Marginal Coffee.

Truly inspired
Many businesses created bras that reflect who they are and how they serve the community.

Oregon Imaging Centers’ bra depicts a colorful Wonder Woman theme, which represents their role in the fight against cancer.

“Every day, we strive to be superheroes in caring for our patients, supporting them and fighting with them—from our schedulers to our technologists and patient navigators,” said Jennifer Cantu. “But the true Wonder Women are our patients.”

This is the fifth year that Jewell Plastic Surgery has submitted a bra, supporting Oregon Cancer Foundation and bringing awareness to breast reconstruction. Their design, titled “Team Approach,” reinforces the importance of all breast cancer patients knowing their options for reconstruction prior to treatment.

“Breast Cancer is a very personal journey,” says Stacy Breaux with Jewell Plastic Surgery. “Your treatment plan should involve all of your providers, from your primary care provider to your surgeon, plastic surgeon and oncologists. Knowing all of your options prior to treatment will provide you with optimum care, improved outcomes and quality of life.”

Valley River Inn, which is new to Bras for Cause this year, did not hesitate to join the campaign.

“As a place of comfort, warmth and celebration, we want to extend that outside our doors and help bring awareness to the efforts Oregon Cancer Foundation puts forth daily,” said Keri Brown, Valley River Inn’s Senior Catering Manager.

That sentiment transpired into a beautiful turquoise Tiffany-style bra, sparkling with rhinestones and representing the beauty of survival, the richness of love and support, and the elegance of perseverance.

“To all who are battling a health concern, don’t give up hope. We are a community, here to help fight with you!”

Join the celebration
Have you voted for your favorite bra? $1 = 1 vote and voting runs through Oct. 31 at brasforcause.org.

And don’t miss the first-ever Girls Night Out Celebration, a fun finale to the Bras for Cause campaign. It will be held on Friday, Nov. 3rd from 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. at Venue 252 in Eugene.

There will be dinner, music, a fashion show featuring local cancer survivors, a silent auction, and this year’s Bras for Cause winners will be announced.

Tickets are $35 and can be purchased here.


Bras for Cause participants share stories of hope

Bras for Cause

Robin Gambino stood in front of a television news camera a year ago and was asked why she participates in the Bras for Cause Build-A-Bra event. As a colon cancer survivor, she explained, this annual fundraiser supports Oregon Cancer Foundation’s Patient Assistance Program and is a way for her to help others while coping with her own diagnosis. Robin also encouraged other survivors during the interview: “Just stay strong, have a positive attitude and don’t let it get you down.”

Those are words Robin lives by, and it’s why she’s participating in this year’s Bras for Cause campaign and recently attended the Build-A-Bra kick-off event with her family. Nearly four years into her cancer fight, Robin decided to create a bra design that features a pair of boxing gloves, alongside the names of those close to her who’ve been diagnosed with the disease, including her mom and dad. In addition to the fun and camaraderie that this community fundraiser brings, Robin says the event also gives her strength.

“It means a lot to be here and it’s uplifting and inspiring to know that people are here because they want to help,” Robin says. “I choose to fight. I have a bucket list of things I want to do, and, by goodness, I’m going to accomplish them.”

Bras for Cause

Cancer survivor Robin Gambino decorates her bra for this year’s competition.

Coming up next
Now that all the bras have been created for this year’s Bras for Cause fundraiser, it’s time to rally the community to vote for their favorites. 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 Tuesday, Oct. 3. This event is free to attend and fun for the whole family.

This year, more than a dozen area businesses are building a bra and raising funds to support Oregon Cancer Foundation throughout the month of October. These bras will be available for viewing online at brasforcause.org, while the actual bras will be on display at each of these locations:

  • Along Came Trudy
  • Breast Care Team from Northwest Surgical Specialists
  • Chambers Construction
  • Creswell Coffee
  • Creswell Dairy Queen
  • Curves of Eugene
  • Dari Mart
  • Jewell Plastic Surgery
  • Oregon Imaging
  • Pacific Women’s Center
  • The Duck Store
  • Turell Group
  • Valley River Inn
  • Willamette Valley Cancer Institute and Research Center

Don’t miss the fun finale
Bras for Cause culminates with its first-ever Girls Night Out celebration. Grab your girlfriends and celebrate at this woman-inspired event with dinner, music, a silent auction, games and a fashion show, featuring bras created by area businesses and modeled (over their clothes) by local cancer survivors.

  • When: Friday, Nov. 3, 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.
  • Where: Venue 252 at 252 Lawrence St., Eugene
  • Tickets: $35/each or $240/Table for 8. Tickets available here.
Bras for Cause

Cancer survivor Brenda Mills poses with her bra and the Breast Care Team from Northwest Surgical Specialists.

More highlights from this year’s Bras for Cause Build-A-Bra event

This is the sixth year for the Bras for Cause fundraiser. Participants gathered for the Build-a-Bra event at Along Came Trudy in Springfield, where they created their bras, using craft supplies and drawing on inspiration from their personal stories.

Gail Murray wanted to be part of the fun and support her friend Sherry Heinl, a three-year breast cancer survivor who was diagnosed with colon cancer last November.

“This is such a fun event, something we wanted to do together,” Gail said.

“It means a lot to me to see the community rally together,” said Sherry, who personally understands the financial strain cancer can cause.

“It’s very overwhelming. There were times during my treatment that I felt my diagnosis was putting my family in a difficult situation. There were times when we wanted to just go out and have dinner together—and we couldn’t, because we couldn’t afford it.”

A few tables away, Brenda Mills, a breast cancer survivor, experienced Build-a-Bra for the first time, creating a bra with her Breast Care Team from Northwest Surgical Specialists, the presenting sponsor of the event.

Brenda was unable to work during her cancer treatment, which included chemotherapy and surgery. She received financial assistance from Oregon Cancer Foundation to help pay her rent.

“I was among some of the strongest women in the world today at Build-a-Bra,” she says proudly. “Not only were we able to come together for such a great cause, raising money that stays in our community, but we know that money is helping patients during a time in their lives that is both emotionally and financially difficult. We are truly blessed to live in a community where there is help, and there is hope.”


Bras for Cause returns to support cancer survivors

Bras for Cause Reveal Party

The annual Bras for Cause campaign, Oregon Cancer Foundation’s most colorful fundraiser, kicks off earlier this year and ends with a spectacular Girls Night Out celebration.

Serious fun for a serious cause
Bras for Cause got its start seven years ago, spearheaded by Shirley Lyons and Toviana Jackson of Dandelions Flowers & Gifts. The mother-daughter duo felt compelled to create an event that would bring awareness to breast cancer and raise money to support patients going through treatment. Borrowing a concept that has been used around the country, Bras for Cause was born: Invite people to decorate a bra, put the creations on display, and encourage the community to donate by voting for their favorites.

“We wanted to do something that people would be excited about, while making sure the money raised would stay right here in our community,” Shirley said. “It’s important to have national cancer research, but people going through treatment have real financial needs.”

All proceeds raised through Bras for Cause supports OCF’s Financial Assistance Program, helping cancer patients undergoing treatment in Lane County.

“We are 100% donation-funded and 100% local,” said OCF Executive Director Amy Johnston. “The money raised through Bras for Cause contributes immensely to our annual fundraising and allows us to continue to fulfill 100% of the requests for assistance we receive.”

This year’s Bras for Cause goal is $75,000.

Shirley Lyons and Toviana Jackson

Shirley Lyons and Toviana Jackson started Bras for Cause seven years ago to support local cancer patients.

Kicking off in style
Bras for Cause 2017 kicks off on Tuesday, Sept. 19, with the third annual Build-a-Bra event. Grab your family, your friends, your co-workers or come solo and join us for an evening of fun. Art supplies are provided – or bring your own!

  • When: Tuesday, Sept. 19, 4-7 p.m.
  • Where: Along Came Trudy, 1486 18th St., Springfield
  • Entry Fee: $10 per bra

Deadline to submit your bra creation to Dandelion’s Flowers and Gifts is Friday, Sept. 22, at 5 p.m.

Voting Begins
Voting happens Oct. 1 – 31 online at brasforcause.org. Vote for your favorites; $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 Tuesday, Oct. 3. This event is free to attend and fun for the whole family.

A fun finale
Bras for Cause culminates with its first-ever Girls Night Out celebration. Grab your girlfriends and celebrate at this woman-inspired event with dinner, music, a silent auction, games and a fashion show, featuring bras created by area businesses and modeled (over their clothes) by local cancer survivors.

  • When: Friday, Nov. 3, 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.
  • Where: Venue 252 at 252 Lawrence St., Eugene
  • Tickets: $35/each or $240/Table for 8. Tickets available soon at brasforcause.org.

New events this year

  • Business Bras: Area businesses that are interested in participating can build a bra and raise funds throughout the month of October. The top 12 business bras will be modeled by local cancer survivors at the Girls Night Out celebration. Contact Amy Johnston at 541.632.3654 or amy@oregoncancerfoundation.org for more information.
  • Classes: In tandem with Bras for Cause, Oregon Cancer Foundation is partnering with Eugene Yoga, massage therapist Kimby Maxon and others, and will be offering a variety of free classes throughout October. More details coming soon.

Learn how to prepare healthy meals on a budget

Positive Community Kitchen

Oregon Cancer Foundation is partnering with Positive Community Kitchen (PCK) and Whole Foods Market to offer free monthly classes on healthy eating and nutrition to cancer survivors and their families.

“Cancer treatment can be hard on a patient’s body and eating nutritious food is important for good health and for healing,” says OCF’s executive director Amy Johnston. “We want to make it easier for patients, survivors and their families to choose healthy foods by teaching them how to prepare them and how to shop for seasonal, fresh items on a budget.”

Shanna Hutton

Positive Community Kitchen board president Shanna Hutton leads the nutrition classes at Whole Foods Market

Positive Community Kitchen board president Shanna Hutton leads the classes, offering nutrition information and demonstrating tasty ways to prepare meals that are gluten-free and feature seasonal ingredients. PCK is a nonprofit in Eugene that prepares and delivers nutrient-rich, organic meals to people fighting life-threatening illnesses. As a former head chef for the organization, Shanna is excited to provide these classes in the local community.

“Our main goal is to bridge what’s healthy with what tastes good and educate people who may be intimidated or unsure about how to prepare healthy foods,” she says. “Our hope is that these classes will make cooking more accessible and leave people feeling more welcome and comfortable in the kitchen.”

Upcoming classes will be held on the third Wednesday of the month through December, with the exception of the August class which will be held on the fourth Wednesday, Aug. 23. The classes will run from 6:30-7:30 pm in the upstairs meeting room at Whole Foods Market, located at 353 E. Broadway in Eugene.

“At Whole Foods Market, we believe that eating real food is vital for optimum health and well-being,” says Sarah Heth, Marketing and Community Relations Liaison for Whole Foods Market Eugene. “By partnering with Oregon Cancer Foundation and Positive Community Kitchen, we are providing an opportunity for patients, survivors and their caregivers to learn more about the positive impact food choices can have to maximize personal health and long-term wellness.”

The classes are free to attend, but due to space limitations, registration is required.