Bras support a worthy cause

Those who haven't witnessed the Great Wall of China in person have most likely seen it in pictures and postcards. But who has laid eyes on the Great Bra of China?

The oversized bra's designer has seen it, and attendees of the annual Soroptimist International of Glendale's Bras for a Cause fundraiser on Saturday will get a chance to lay eyes on — and maybe own — the kitsch creation.

The annual fundraiser, which invites any and all men and women with the creative urge to decorate a one-of-a-kind bra for charity, has been growing ever since it debuted five years ago, said Kathy Lefkovits, the Soroptimist club member who founded the event.

In addition to donating most of the proceeds to breast cancer services programs at Glendale's three major hospitals, the club also uses the funds raised to give grants to up to 20 other local nonprofits that work on behalf of women and girls, she said.

“It is such an important cause, and it's such an outrageously fun time that people all through the year — because, you know, I'm kind of known as the bra lady in Glendale — come up to me and say, 'I already have my idea for a bra for next year,' or 'my cousin is doing a design,' or 'my grandmother passed away due to breast cancer, and my sister and I are designing a bra in her memory.' So the excitement has just built over the years,” Lefkovits said.

The event adopts a new theme every year to inspire new designs. Last year, it was a movie theme, and this year it's “Bras for a Cause goes on vacation.”

Among the more than 30 contributions, there are bras that seem to come from China and Japan and a Mardi Gras-inspired New Orleans bra, said Lou Rhodes, Soroptimist immediate past president.

Another contribution titled “Around the World in 80 Days” resembles a vacation vehicle instead of a destination: crafted out of about seven bras, the entrance resembles a hot air ballon ready for flight, Rhodes said.

Lefkovits' creation is a folksy ode to old-school fishing trips.

“One cup is turned upside down with trout in it, and the other is right-side up with a little frog sitting on it fishing,” she said.

The event, which garnered about $41,000 last year, has exceeded its fundraising totals every year since inception, when it generated about $24,000, Rhodes said.

As fundraising totals have improved, so have bra designs, which event organizers say get more elaborate and outrageous every year.

“They're much more detailed,” Rhodes said. “They have a lot more to them it seems. We're not just seeing someone taking a bra and gluing something on it. They're being made into other things.”

Tickets for the event, which will be held at Oakmont Country Club, 3100 Country Club Drive, are available for $65 by calling event chairwoman Gayle Craig at (818) 398-7043.

The silent auction and bra viewing period starts at 6 p.m., and a sit-down dinner and live auction start at 7 p.m.


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