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Hamptons Life

Apr 6, 2010 11:36 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Beautiful brassieres draw attention to serious health issue

Apr 6, 2010 11:36 AM

The stories came first.

There was suspicion, doctor visits and the life-changing news. Cancer had assaulted the body; better gear up for a fight. And fight they did. The women with breast cancer battled for their lives, for their families and for their future.

Now, those who have been touched by cancer are fighting for others. On April 21, area women will be slipping on special bras to show off what can follow when determination links arms with creativity for a cause.

The Reconstructed Bra Fashion Show & Auction will be held at the Southampton Publick House in Southampton from 7 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, April 21. The benefit for breast cancer features a fashion show of over-the-top bras paired with costumes designed to bring a good dose of wacky fun to the Publick House.

But don’t expect bras a la Victoria’s Secret. Some sport plastic frogs, beer caps or seashells. Others feature embroidered words, flower petals or layers of fabric. The bras can be beautiful, whimsical, wacky or conceptual. The models may look like mermaids or cowboys.

The offbeat benefit is raising funds for Southampton Hospital’s “Heaven Can Wait” walking team for Long Island 2 Day Walk (LI2DAY), a two-day walkathon in which participants are asked to walk 35 miles to raise awareness and money for breast cancer on Long Island. Every cent of the money raised by teams will be funneled back to area charities of their choice (see www.li2day.org for information).

The “Heaven Can Wait” team is donating to the Ellen Hermanson Breast Center at Southampton Hospital and Lucia’s Angels, a foundation assisting women with “late-stage women’s cancers.” (Visit www.southamptonhospital.org or www.luciasangels.org for information.)

But there’s a catch (besides being able to walk 35 miles). Each team member must raise $1,000 in donations in order to participate. The Reconstructed Bra Fashion Show and Auction aims to raise funds for those who want to walk but may not be able to raise $1,000 on their own, said Stacy Quarty, an event founder, bra-maker, bra model and president of Lucia’s Angels.

And before the eye-rolling and the giggles start, the heartstrings might get tugged by the stories behind the unusual bra designs. The inspiration for each of the designs will be read as the models appear on the catwalk escorted by doctors from the hospital.

“The bras really mean something to the people who designed them,” said Susie Barry Roden, a benefit co-founder, bra-maker and Community Outreach Coordinator for the Ellen Hermanson Breast Center. “They put in a lot of thought about what they wanted to say. Spending the time in designing and making the bras was therapeutic for many of them. It helped them work through issues they were trying to face.”

For an eyeful before the event, check out Hildreth’s in Southampton. The department store donated two windows for bra displays that are causing a stir on Main Street. Advance tickets to the Publick House event are also sold there for $40; tickets at the door will be $45. The windows were designed by Tom and Pat Kochie, each of whom designed a bra. Ms. Kochie is battling breast cancer.

Henry Hildreth said he donated window space after hearing about the new benefit from Ms. Roden, who knits with a group that meets at the store on Saturday mornings. Another knitting group on Fridays is for those affected by breast cancer. It’s led by Rene Foster, the buyer/manager of dry goods (yarns and fabrics, for example) at Hildreth’s. Ms. Foster also designed a bra for the benefit.

The Reconstructed Bra benefit will have more than bras. Pink hair extensions are being offered for $15 by Kevin Maple salon in Southampton, with proceeds going to the Ellen Hermanson Breast Center. The extensions will be offered during the benefit or at the salon during April; call 283-8239.

Both the LI2DAY Walk and The Reconstructed Bra event have demonstrated the generous spirit of area residents, calling to mind the spirit of Lucia Terzi Bagan, who died of breast cancer in 2006.

Priscilla Eagan of Southampton Hospital pointed out that LI2DAY and the Reconstructed Bra have brought together people who didn’t know each other before, even within the hospital.

This is the third year the “Heaven Can Wait” team from Southampton Hospital will step out to raise funds for East Enders with breast cancer. All three women said they hoped the Reconstructed Bra Fashion Show and Auction will be fun for the audience and raise awareness about breast cancer on Long Island.

The Reconstructed Bra Fashion Show & Auction will be held on Wednesday, April 21, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Southampton Publick House, 40 Bowden Square, Southampton. Tickets are $40 in advance and $45 at the door. Call 726-8715 for tickets or visit Hildreth’s, 51-55 Main Street, Southampton.

Two additional fund-raisers to aid the LI2DAY team will be held on April 16 (Anna’s Elegant Luau) and May 15 (The Pampered Chef Fund-Raising Brunch). For information, visit www.li2day.org or www.luciasangels.org.

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