BRA-VO!

If you find popcorn and movie tickets stuffed in a bra, you must be at Soroptimist International of Glendale's fourth annual Bras for a Cause fundraiser.

The event has contestants decorate bras, which they pay $100 to enter in the competition.

The bras are then auctioned off to the highest bidder.

Funds raised go to breast cancer services at Glendale hospitals and other local charities that help women and children, event founder Kathy Lefkovits said.

This year's competition has some innovative ideas depicting the theme Bras for a Cause Goes to the Movies, she said.

First-time competitors Karen Volpei and Robin McCary, both of Burbank, submitted two entries: Popcorn and Pearls and A Night at the Oscars.

Their Popcorn and Pearls entry was very impressive, Lefkovits said.

"It's a pretty bra," she said. "There are pearls that go up the straps and pearls along the edge and they put movie tickets with it."

While it's one of three bras using popcorn in the design, each is different, Lefkovits said.

"It's amazing what people come up with every year," she said.

"No two have been alike yet."

Participating in the event is a personal thing for Volpei and McCary.

Volpei had a breast cancer scare three years ago and both her parents died from lung cancer, she said.

"I've participated for many cancer events," she said.

"Once you have walked that path, you understand how important it is to help fight for the cause."

McCary's sister-in-law is a two-time survivor of breast cancer, she said, and her husband's mother died from it.

"We're all touched by it somehow, a friend of a friend, co-worker or family member," she said.

"I feel honored I get to be a part of Bras for a Cause."

Not only is the cause a great one, but also people really have fun decorating the bras, Lefkovits said.

"They are laughing while they are decorating them and scurrying around town looking for decorations," she said. "My phone just keeps ringing and people are laughing on the other end."

This year, a bra has even come from overseas, from a Soroptimist club in Burnley, England, Lefkovits said.

Along with the bra, which is decorated with the British flag, the group sent several tabloids, a signed photo of the Prime Minister and film clips from the film, "The Queen."

"I'm overwhelmed they would support our event the way they have," Lefkovits said. "Barbara Murray, a member of the club, said it's the most fun their members have ever had. They just loved the idea and they got a story about it into their local newspaper."

The event will feature a silent auction, sit-down dinner, music, exhibit of bras and live auction of the most outrageously decorated bras and other items, Lefkovits said.

Last year, the event raised $35,000, she said. Lefkovits believes the group should make at least that amount this year because it has already raised $20,000, she said.

Funds raised go to breast cancer services to help cover the cost of mammograms for women who can't afford them and to help purchase new equipment for mammograms at Glendale Adventist Medical Center, Verdugo Hills Hospital and the Marcia Ray Breast Center at Glendale Memorial Hospital. Funds also go to Glendale charities that improve the lives of women and children like the YWCA, the Glendale Assn. of the Retarded and Girl Scouts of America.

The idea for the fundraising project came to Lefkovits while she was asleep, she said.

"I woke up with the idea," she said.

"I sat up in bed and wrote down four pages on how we could charge people to submit a bra and raise money that way."

Lefkovits believes about nine other Soroptimist clubs now organize Bras for the Cause events.

"It's very exciting to be the innovator," she said. "People call me and e-mail me all the time and they ask me how to do it. Last week, I was on a one-hour conference call with members of Soroptimist in the Seattle area."

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