Bras for Cause: ‘It takes a village’

Kelly Barton

Bra? Check. Hot glue gun? Check. Feathers, jewels, pom-poms and medallions? Check, check, check and check. What do all these craft supplies have in common? They all can help someone with cancer!

Bras for Cause is a fundraiser of Oregon Cancer Foundation to benefit patients undergoing all types of cancer treatment in Lane County. The goal is to raise $120,000 for the foundation’s Financial Assistance Program. But it’s going to take more than tassels and feathers to reach that goal. As the saying goes, ‘It takes a village! That’s why we need the support of the community to reach our goal. Voting is open the entire month of October, so make sure to vote online at brasforcause.org.

If it were not for Lane County residents and businesses who support the fundraiser, Bras for Cause wouldn’t be the success that it is, year after year.

At Chambers Construction, many employees have been affected by cancer and get involved in the fundraiser. The company even takes it a step further and hosts its own raffle, which is open to anyone. They raffle off baskets, gift cards and bottles of wine, then donate the proceeds to the foundation – last year, they raised $500 at their auction and $3,100 total!

“People shouldn’t have to choose between going to the doctor and feeding their family,” says Cassandra Dare, a project engineer at Chambers Construction. “We want to create a better, more supportive community for everyone.”

Other businesses also coordinate their own events to tie into Bras for Cause. Employees at McKenzie Commercial Construction host their own internal in-house craft day and provide craft supplies to make it easy for employees to decorate bras. The finished pieces are displayed and the office votes and the winning bra becomes the Bras for Cause company bra—all of the other bras become personal entries.

“What I like most about this fundraiser is doing it with my sister and daughter,” says Jennifer Thomas, marketing manager at McKenzie Commercial. “My mom was diagnosed at 50 and died at 65. My daughter is just turning 18. And, I think for me, spending that time in a way that feels like an honor is meaningful for us.”

Bras for Cause is personal for the folks at Timber Products Company, too. When Kelly Barton, the company’s executive assistant, was diagnosed with breast cancer in early 2018, Timber Products participated in the fundraiser to support her and other local patients.

“After my own cancer journey, I want to give back and help others who are going through it,” Kelly says. “Bras for Cause makes raising money for an amazing organization fun. Plus, it is a great team-building experience with my coworkers.”

Kelly’s favorite part of the campaign is the Girls Night Out event, which Kelly got to experience firsthand as one of the Red Carpet Survivors when she was diagnosed. This year, the Girls Night Out event will be on Friday, Nov. 8, at Venue 252 in Eugene.

“It is an amazing experience for cancer survivors to be pampered, share their story and celebrate being a survivor,” she says.

Bras for Cause voting runs October 1-31, so make sure to get your votes in online at brasforcause.org before the deadline!