“Bras for a Cause” raises $140k for Cancer

Annual event raises Fun and Funds for Cancer research

By David Taylor
Managing Editor

CROSBY – It was fun and even got raucous at times while the Crosby community turned out in big numbers to support the Bras For A Cause fundraiser. When all the glitter and confetti had settled, they had raised a whopping $140,000 for cancer.

“This is our 13th year and despite internet problems and parking in the rain, everyone managed to get in and contribute to the cause,” said BFAC president Beth King. “We can always count on Crosby people and those in surrounding areas to come out and support us big time.”

From North Shore, Dayton, Crosby, and even from as far away as the state of Washington, more than 400 guests packed the American Legion Hall for the annual gig.

The Crosby organization began in 2008 when Shirley Rodgers was executive assistant and secretary at the Crosby Fair and Rodeo.

“She saw an idea called Tough Enough To Wear Pink, a cowboy supported program for breast cancer awareness. On Saturday night at the rodeo, if you wore a pink shirt, they would donate money to breast cancer research or the American Cancer Society,” said Debbie Holmelin. They would raise additional funds raffling items and selling t-shirts.

Then the girls heard about Bras For A Cause where the guys dress up in bras and you auction them off.

“There really wasn’t a website for them so we decided to do our own,” Holmelin said.

They began lining up celebrity models. The first year, most of the 20 models were directors from the fair and rodeo. They served food, paraded the models individually, and then brought them back one by one to auction off their bra.

Holmelin understands the sting of a cancer diagnosis after her husband Victor died with male breast cancer. He survived for 17 years with a healthy life after his diagnosis.

Much of the money raised at the fundraiser goes to Pink Heals, or the Breast Care Center Fund, or for lung cancer screenings at Houston Methodist Baytown Hospital.

“Those help individuals who need assistance, particularly with co-pays or other financial needs to get the help that they need,” Holmelin said.

Money is also donated to the Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Family Alliance.

“Much of that money is used to assist families who have to pay out of pocket thousands of dollars on parking, meals, and groceries while their child is undergoing treatment,” she said.

According to King, the latest numbers show 67 children in Crosby and surrounding areas diagnosed with cancer.

“We also help pay for children to go to Camp Cliff along with their families while they’re going through treatment,” she said.

Last year, BFAC Crosby also adopted six families for Christmas.

The first year they began Bras For A Cause they raised $30,000. Now, the bidding for some of the bras start around $2,000 and bring in considerably more. Santa Claus made an appearance and auctioned off his bra for more than $13,000.

“They’ve gotten more creative and funnier with the bras, and it has helped raise the amount of funds,” King said.

The first year, one of the models, the president of the rodeo Russell Rogers, only wore red solo cups so they’ve come a long way since the early days.

Models walk the catwalk encouraging bill stuffing and all money raised on the floor during their walk is donated to the organization.

Then they come back out individually while their bra is being auctioned off and that’s when the big money begins to flow.

“Before tonight, we had donated more than $1.5 million to our charities,” King said.

They’ve been recognized by the Methodist system with a brick on their donor wall that has listed those who have given more than a million dollars. The organization goes through the Crosby Fair and Rodeo to utilize their non-profit status to be able to give tax deductions to big donors.

“We owe a lot to the models and their bra-makers for their hard work. They are our real heroes,” Holmelin said.

Models this year included David Mendez, Adam Notgrass, Kevin Pipes, Andrew Tarpinion, Jason McWhorter, Mike Stamper, Robby Scott, Chris Nolden, Chris Baird, Mikey Jarrell, Jakie Sims, Dr. Nirav Naik, Clayton Johnson, Steve Eudy, Matt Crumpler, JR Humphries, Matthew Whitworth, Quentin Klaus, Jeremy Strang, and James Blaha.

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