Bra Artists Fight Back Against Cancer

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Marcelina Munford recently found herself inspired by the ladybug—a symbol of good luck and wishes fulfilled, with her hard shell protecting her from predators.Around the same time, Daniel Gonzales and Raun Norquist were thinking about reconstruction, challenge and survival, the light at the end of the tunnel.

And Kimberly Goff was considering the overall cause for the sixth annual Reconstructed Bra Fashion Show & Auction, for which each of the 20 involved artists created one original piece of art, to be worn by 10 models walking down a runway on Thursday, May 21, at the Southampton Social Club.

“All of our lives have been touched by breast cancer, and it is important to support our community when the opportunity arises,” Ms. Goff wrote in an artist’s statement. “Breast cancer is not only life threatening but can also undermine how we feel about ourselves. My bra is a reminder that breasts are to be adored.”

In years past, the bras fetched between $250 and $5,000 each, according to organizer Stacy Quarty, and last year raised $33,000 collectively for breast health organizations Lucia’s Angels, the Coalition for Women’s Cancers at Southampton Hospital and the Ellen Hermanson Breast Center, as well as the “LI2Day Walk for Breast Cancer” team Heaven Can Wait.

But for the first time, this year’s event will partner with the American Fundraising Association, according to Ms. Quarty, vice president of the Coalition for Women’s Cancers at Southampton Hospital, which is headed up by president Susan Barry Roden.

“They’ve been known to increase profits by 300 percent,” Ms. Quarty said of the AFA’s involvement, which would bring the $33,000 raised last year up to nearly $100,000. “They’re very good at what they do.”

The AFA is the brainchild of former reporters Barbara and Wade West, retired television news anchors who will serve as auctioneers.

“I don’t know if people in that area realize just how lucky they are to have driven women like [Ms. Quarty and Ms. Roden],” Mr. West said. “You go into some areas, and they have committees of 50 people who don’t do half what these two women do. You’ve got local women on fire, and that is the key to a good fundraising event.”

Mr. and Ms. West will auction off five “absolutely out-of-this-world” bucket list trips, Ms. Quarty said, alongside the 20 bras, which do not disappoint. Designer Karyn Mannix’s creation, “All About Eve,” features nearly 10 feet of fabricated boa constrictor.

“Cancer’s the scariest thing in the world,” said Ms. Mannix, a 10-year breast cancer survivor, “but when I look back, I was very grateful to have breast cancer, because it changed my life for the better. It was a real eye-opener that life is short and precious.”

Silvia Boyer’s bra, “Fierce is Fabulous,” represents the strength of women fighting cancer. “Lady Luck” by Tom Kochie is dedicated to his “better half,” Pat, who was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer six years ago.

As for Pat Kochie herself, she created her bra in memory of her friend, Nancy Lazar. She was her “Golden Goddess,” Ms. Kochie said, and named it as such for her.

In support of the “LI2Day Walk for Breast Cancer,” the Heaven Can Wait team will host its Reconstructed Bra Fashion Show & Auction on Thursday, May 21, from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Southampton Social Club. Tickets are $50 in advance, or $60 at the door. Proceeds benefit local breast cancer awareness and support programs. For more information, call (631) 726-8715, or email stacy@luciasangels.org.

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