On the Town: A cause with built-in support

A record number of supporters decorated a record number of bras this year at the ninth annual Bras for a Cause on Saturday (April 28). It was wall-to-wall bras at the newly refurbished Oakmont Country Club as several hundred Glendale Soroptimists, their guests and what looked like half of Glendale were present to support the bra of their choice. Ornately decorated bras went to winning bidders during the silent auction. Bras were also voted upon and gently teased by emcee/auctioneer Rick Lemmo of Caruso Affiliated. (Incidentally, Lemmo reminded his audience that in September 2013, Nordstrom will be opening at the Americana at the same time Bloomingdale's comes to the Glendale Galleria.)

Soroptimists Fundraising Chairman Janet Hamilton, assisted by Lisa McMurray, kept the action moving during the evening of uplift and inspiration. The “cause” part of the evening's title, of course, is breast cancer awareness. Half of the expected proceeds of $30,000 will go toward the three Glendale hospitals — Glendale Adventist, Glendale Memorial and Verdugo Hills Hospital. The second half will go to several charities.

Soroptimist Kathy Lefkovits, the brains behind the bras, helped decide this year's theme, Bras for a Cause Celebrates Holidays. Each bra was decorated with happy holidays in mind. The bra creators tried to outdo one another so that their decorated bra would be the winner in various categories judged by Donna Hekler, Judee Kendall and Scott Ochoa, Glendale's new city manager.

Soroptimist President Liz Mirzaian provided opening remarks and introductions. City VIPs present included Ochoa, former Glendale Mayor Carl Raggio and Paula Devine, Soroptimist and Chairman of the Commission on the Status of Women.

Then Lemmo took over live auctioneer duties with humor and gusto. Only four items were auctioned off, but they took in $15,400 generated by the generous bidders. A favorite item was a week in rural France donated by Jacky and John Hawley. The trip went for $2,000, the highest price of the evening. Dinner of lemon chicken followed the auction.

But it was the awards presentation that the audience and bra creators were waiting for. Among the winners were Most Creative Bra Award that went to sponsor Lola Abrahamian, Glendale Police Department lieutenant, and bra creator Blanca Aguila. The black bra was decorated with cop paraphernalia — a badge and weapons holster slung around the back of the torso. It was titled “Cancer in Custody.” Brand-new Soroptimist Abrahamian, a member of the department's Technical Services Bureau, bought her bra back for $45.

The People's Choice Award was won by “Operation Cancer,” a veteran's pink bra with accouterments, including an authentic helmet. The torso was painted in camouflage colors. The bra was created by Kimie Cho, cancer survivors and supporters. Glendale Adventist Medical Center Cancer Services sponsored the bra and decorated it in honor of cancer survivors everywhere.

The first recipient of Bras for a Cause Celebrates Support Award went to Soroptimist Cathy Zappala for donating many overflowing baskets of goodies for the silent auction.

Besides the three Glendale hospitals, the evening's proceeds will benefit a bevy of charities including Girls on the Run, Girl Scouts, the YWCA, the Walter Hoving Home and the Salvation Army.

RUTH SOWBY may be reached at ruthasowby@gmail.com.

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