On the Town: Soroptimists present annual 'Bras for a Cause'

"Bras might be the most creative, supportive and uplifting invention of all time," said fundraising chair Kathy Lefkovits at Glendale Soroptimists' 11th annual "Bras for a Cause." Decorating bras for dollars may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it sure was last Saturday.

At the Glendale Hilton, there were wall-to-wall bras — all up for silent auction to benefit Glendale's three local hospitals and charities on behalf of women and girls. This year's decorating theme was "Celebrating Women Throughout the Ages."

Besides the highly decorated bras, other prizes could be found in the silent auction. One of the most popular was dinner with the Zarian twins.

Sons of the late Glendale Mayor Larry Zarian, Lawrence and Gregory Zarian offered dinner at Katsuya at the Americana at Brand. That "priceless" prize went to yours truly for $100.

Soroptimist President Susan Hunt welcomed close to 250 community supporters. Glendale VIPs present included Police Chief Robert Castro and City Council member and breast cancer survivor Laura Friedman.

Also attending were Ann Ransford, president of the Glendale Community College board of trustees; Paula Devine, former chair of the Glendale Commission of the Status of Women; and Carl Raggio, former Glendale mayor. His ever-lovin' Lynn Raggio was by his side.

Hunt reminded her audience that the worker bees behind "Bras for a Cause" have raised $300,000 for cancer service programs at Glendale Memorial Hospital, Glendale Adventist Medical Center and USC Verdugo Hills Hospital.

Fittingly, Hunt introduced Dr. Don Larsen, who is the chief medical officer at USC Verdugo Hills Hospital. He extolled the ways Soroptimists have contributed to the hospital's mammography program including the funding of "soft mammograms."

After a dinner of breaded chicken breasts, Hunt continued the program with the introduction of Wayne Herron, vice president of philanthropy at Glendale Memorial Hospital, and Maryann Robertson, manager of Marcia Ray Breast Cancer Center at Glendale Memorial.

Following was the presentation of a commendation from Los Angeles County to Donna Hekler, who has been a community volunteer for many years.

"I admire the Soroptimists for their active role in fighting breast cancer and also their significant assistance to women enabling them to further their education through scholarships from Soroptimist of Glendale," Hekler said.

Also recognized were representatives from Glendale Adventist Medical Center, including Foundation President Irene Bourdon and Kimie Cho.

After the program full of introductions, awards and thank-yous, the fun began in earnest. Live auctioneer Ardy Kassakhian, who is also Glendale City Clerk, kept the action moving.

A frequent "Bras for a Cause" attendee, Kassakhian quipped, "I remember when this event was just an A-cup."

Bra jokes aside, this year's auction items were especially popular with the audience. Soroptimist member Janet Hamilton donated a gourmet four-course dinner for six in Chef Janet's La Cañada home. After one dinner went for $700, bidders clamored for more.

Hamilton then offered a second gourmet dinner for another $700. Evidently, what comes around goes around. Hamilton was the opportunity prize winner of $500.

The evening closed with an award ceremony for the 27 bras on display. From each table, attendees voted on the spot for the ever-popular "People's Choice" Award. That title went to "Bra-Tanical Gardens — Celebrating Women of the 60s." It was created by Robertson, Ramona Kurasz and Jackie C and sponsored by Dignity Health-Glendale Memorial Hospital. The award-winning bra was decorated in honor of the women of the Marcia Ray Cancer Support Group.

According to Lefkovits, proceeds are expected to total more than $35,000, with $25,000 of that amount donated by event sponsors.


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

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