Those words I never expected to hear from my Mother. Yet in 2008 that was the message she articulated to me over the telephone. Being nearly 600 miles away in Chicago there was nothing more I wanted than to come home and curl up by my Mother’s side, in Alabama. Throughout her mastectomy and weeks of recovery, she remained a trooper; always upbeat — relying on her faith in God, and the support of her family and friends to carry her through — and never, ever complaining.
Thankfully she has been cancer-free for four years.
This disease, however, which strikes our mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, and best friends, is a sneak-thief. Operating in stealth-mode it effects — oftentimes quietly — the women closest to us. In a lifetime, 1 in 8 American women will develop breast cancer, which means it is likely to touch the life of someone you hold dear. And in another clandestine move, about 85 percent of breast cancers occur in women who have no family history of the disease.
The good news is that death rates have been decreasing since 1990, and scientist theorize the reduction is three-fold: a result of treatment advances, earlier detection through screening, and increased awareness. Huntsville now has a very active cadre of supporters dedicated to raising awareness, which I attribute to something I coined ‘the Liz Hurley effect.’
Take for example local artist Anna Braden who founded The Painted Bra Art Project in 2011. On a whim she created the first “painted bra” and posted it on Facebook attempting to raise awareness for breast cancer. As her artist friends heard about what she created they began adding their own painted bras to the collection. In the end, more than 400 bra-art pieces were auctioned for charity.
Braden is at the helm again this year and said of the fundraiser, “This is our second year for The Painted Bra Art Project. Last year we raised $10,000 for The Liz Hurley Breast Cancer Fund.” Braden hopes to surpass the high-bar set last year.
The Painted Bra Art Project will include several awareness events and BRAsterpiece painting parties throughout September and October. These culminate with a live exhibit and auction at Lowe Mill Arts & Entertainment on October 26.
Braden commented, “This is going to be huge. We have Briana Dean playing, Blue Pants will be there with beer. We will have lots of food, and a silent auction. Plus, Liz Hurley will be there.”
If you are unfamiliar with Liz Hurley, her efforts have helped thousands of women become better informed about breast health issues. Hurley’s namesake fund was established following her own battle with breast cancer, and is administered by the Huntsville Hospital Foundation. It aims to support programs that create awareness about breast cancer, to purchase equipment for breast cancer treatment, and to fund breast cancer research projects.
Bras and Brews
For the first time ever, Blue Pants Brewery is hosting a BRAsterpiece painting party.
“Blue Pants heard about our project and called us because they too wanted to do something in October to support breast cancer awareness,” explained Braden. The partnership produced ‘Bras & Brews for Breast Cancer‘ taking place on October 4 at the Blue Pants Brewery in Madison.
Guests can expect a bra painting contest where you must use pants in your design. This twist on the traditional came about as a nod to Blue Pants, a brewery that names their beers after pants. Popular musical act Redheaded Stepchild will play. Plus, the Dixie Derby Roller Girls will be there on skates donning previously customized bras, which will then be auctioned at the event.
Bras, beers, girls on roller skates, and all for a good cause?! Sounds like a rocking evening to me.
I even called my Mom to see if she wanted to attend. She said yes, and also asked me to remind you of the importance of self-exams and annual screenings from a health provider. I’m so glad she is here to remind me.
The Liz Hurley Breast Cancer Fund
Gifts to the Liz Hurley Breast Cancer Fund may be made to Huntsville Hospital Foundation, and may be made in honor or in memory of someone who is special to you. The family will be notified of your kindness. Please mail contributions and donor information to: Huntsville Hospital Foundation 101 Sivley Road Huntsville, AL 35801. For more information about the Liz Hurley Breast Cancer Fund, please contact Huntsville Hospital Foundation, (256) 265-8077.
Event: Bras and Brews at the Blue Pants Brewery
Date: Thursday, October 4th
Time: 6 pm
Location: Blue Pants Brewery
All proceeds raised will be donated to the Liz Hurley Breast Cancer Fund at the Huntsville Hospital Foundation.