From left: Langley Soroptimists Diane Summers, Kelly Poustie, Donna Van Beek and Carolyn Parker are getting ready for the upcoming Bras for a Cause fundraiser, happening March 3.

From left: Langley Soroptimists Diane Summers, Kelly Poustie, Donna Van Beek and Carolyn Parker are getting ready for the upcoming Bras for a Cause fundraiser, happening March 3.

It’s time for Mardi Bra

Soroptimists’ annual Bras for a Cause fundraiser returns March 3

It could be said Langley is bra town. When you walk into a business in Langley, take a look at the art on the walls and you’re likely to see a bra displayed as part of the decor.

It’s all because of Langley’s “support” of Bras For a Cause, a cancer fundraising idea Langley Soroptomist Donna Van Beek came up with seven years ago.

It was then she heard about a breast cancer fundraiser in California where people decorated bras and judged them in support of breast cancer research. Putting her own spin on the idea, Bras for a Cause was born.

From the beginning, Vancouver’s Sarah McLaughlin was on board with her signature art decorated on donated bras, and celebrities have been flocking to the event’s cause ever since.

“We actually own the name Bras for a Cause now,” said Van Beek, who is becoming known as notary by day, “Bra Lady” by night. The event name is used across Canada and in the States now but it is Langley where it got its start.

“The first year we raised $26,000,” said Van Beek. “Now it has a life of its own.”

This year is another sell out, with more than 70 bras being created and donated along with high-end gifts for the soiree.

Since the event was first “developed” in 2005 it has become Langley’s premiere ‘fun’ draiser.

“Our cups have spilled over and we have raised substantial ‘support,’ donating more than $312,000 to help fight women’s cancers,” said the organizers.

This “uplifting” charity gala takes place at the Coast Hotel, Cascade Ballroom on Saturday, March 3.  The theme this year is “Mardi Bras” and it will be a glitzy gala with great food, live entertainment, fantastic bra creations, along with silent and live auctions of the bras and other donated items. Emceed by CTV Morning Live anchor Ann Luu, there will be “booby” prizes, some surprise entertainment and another year where keys will be sold to unlock a pendant worth nearly $10,000.

With seating for 350 guests, the event is already sold out but they do manage to squeeze in a couple extra tables if the need is there, said Van Beek.

Bras for a Cause is not only drawing interest from Langley residents but from many on Hollywood’s “A” list.

There isn’t a celebrity who hasn’t placed their signature on a bra.

This year there is a huge hockey theme with bras signed by Gordie Howe, Bobby Orr, “the Sedin Twins, Trevor Linden, a stick and bra signed by Wayne Gretzky and the Chilliwack Chiefs who not only created a pretty amazing display of a hockey coat rack and bra called “The Chest Protector,” but are donating one game night in the owner’s box for 14 guests.

A Canuck practice for 12 is thrown in with the Sedin bra.

This year, Reba McEntire, Keith Urban, Pawn Stars and Arctic Air’s Adam Beach are among of the celebrities who signed bras. Each bra is matched up with a related gift.

‘Bras for a Cause’ bras are decorated by individuals and businesses and submitted with a minimum $100 donation.

In past years, they have had submissions from Michael Bublé, Bill Clinton, Pierce Brosnan, the Vancouver Canucks and the BC Lions.

They also have many loyal corporate sponsors who donate cash and products showcased and auctioned off at the gala.

Co-chair Caroline Parker said it is always surprising how creative people are each year.

From the Museum of Flight submitting a ‘Twin Props’ bra, to the Court Chesters, Over the Shoulder Boulder Holders, Angry Bra to Breast in Show, the designs and creativity Langley residents come up with is nothing but inspiring, says Soropotomist Diane Summers.

But behind all the fun, there is a serious reason for doing all of this — and that is to help see an end to cancer.

This year a bra is being donated by the Cloverdale parents of Cassidy Briggs who died of liver cancer at nine years old in 2010. On the bra is Cassidy’s signature art of a frog, an animal she loved.

Her parents started a foundation this month in her honour, with many in the Langley community donating.

Another bra, called Auzuri Warrior Princess, which includes a corset, has been created by a mom whose 30-something daughter-in-law just had a double mastectomy and is going through chemo, but is winning the battle.

“We do have fun with this event, it takes hours and hours of planning, there is often lots of wine and laughter involved but of course the reason we do this is important too,” said Van Beek.

Proceeds from this event will be benefit the BC Cancer Foundation and Ovarian Cancer Canada.

Tickets are $90 each or a table of 10 may be purchased for $850.

Call 604-888-6605 to find out if any seats are left.

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