Shirley Lyons knows the power of flowers. For more than 40 years, Shirley and her family have owned and operated Dandelions Flowers & Gifts in Eugene.
“In our business, we touch people during the greatest and most difficult times of their lives, and so we’re dealing with people’s emotions.”
In 2012, she and her daughter, Toviana, found another way to help. They started Bras for Cause, a fundraiser to support local cancer patients.
“We really wanted to give back to the community, and we wanted to find an engaging way to do that, kind of a fun way to poke a finger in the eye of a really serious issue. We thought Bras for Cause would fit the bill.”
The concept is simple: invite people to decorate a bra, put the creations on display, and encourage the community to donate by voting for their favorites.
“I am absolutely astounded by what people can do with the basic shape of a bra,” said Toviana. “People are so artistic and create absolutely beautiful, stunning designs. Others really have fun with puns and the humor behind their bra design.”
One hundred percent of the money raised through Bras for Cause stays in Lane County, providing financial assistance to patients with all types of cancer through Oregon Cancer Foundation (OCF).
“We provide more household assistance, in terms of rent or mortgage help, than any other type of assistance,” said OCF executive director Amy Johnston. “Paying their utility bill is also a big point of stress for families. No matter what else is going on in your life, you really want to keep the lights on.”
As fundraisers like Bras for Cause create awareness about OCF, more people are requesting assistance from the foundation.
“That means we have to get out and raise more money, so that we can continue to fulfill 100 percent of the applications that we receive. Organizations and businesses, like Dandelions Flowers and Gifts, and fundraisers like Bras for Cause are helping to make that happen,” Amy said.
Providing real help, in real ways was Shirley and Toviana’s goal in starting Bras for Cause—and it’s why this community campaign is now in its sixth year.
Kicking it off in style
Bras for Cause 2017 gets underway on Tuesday, Sept. 19, with the third-annual Build-a-Bra event. Bring your family, friends, co-workers, or come solo and enjoy an evening of fun. Art supplies are provided – or bring your own, if you’d like!
- When: Tuesday, Sept. 19, 4-7 p.m.
- Where: Along Came Trudy, 1486 18th St., Springfield
- Entry Fee: $10 per bra
Deadline to submit your bra creation to Dandelion’s Flowers and Gifts is Friday, Sept. 22, at 5 p.m.
Voting begins in October
Voting happens Oct. 1 – 31 online at brasforcause.org. Vote for your favorites; $1 = 1 vote and you can vote as many times as you’d like.
Come see all the colorful bra entries on display at the annual Reveal Party at Dandelions Flowers & Gifts on Tuesday, Oct. 3. This event is free to attend and fun for the whole family.
- When: Tuesday, Oct. 3, 4-6 p.m.
- Where: Dandelions Flowers & Gifts, 1710 Chambers St., Eugene
- Vote at the store and online at brasforcause.org
A fun finale
Bras for Cause wraps up with its first-ever Girls Night Out celebration. Grab your girlfriends and celebrate at this woman-inspired event with dinner, music, a silent auction, games and a fashion show, featuring bras created by area businesses and modeled (over their clothes) by local cancer survivors.
- When: Friday, Nov. 3, 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.
- Where: Venue 252 at 252 Lawrence St., Eugene
- Tickets: $35/each or $240/Table for 8. Tickets available soon at brasforcause.org.