BRAvo spreads awareness, fights breast cancer stats

By: Julie Snyder | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published October 4, 2013

MOUNT CLEMENS — In their ongoing effort to build breast cancer awareness, the McLaren Macomb Healthcare Foundation is planning yet another BRAvo fundraiser.

Organizers said that, for the past four years, this community fundraising event has done triple duty: BRAvo features a competition for the tasteful decoration of bras and an auction of celebrity-autographed and decorated bras; it raises funds to allow uninsured women a chance to obtain regular mammograms; and it provides funding for ongoing breast cancer awareness projects.

“It always is just a huge success — not just for McLaren, but for the many women who need assistance and need to get a screening,” said Pat Keigher, director of the McLaren Macomb Breast Center and the Ted B. Wahby Cancer Center, at McLaren Macomb.

In partnership with the McLaren Macomb Breast Center in Mount Clemens and the Ted B. Wahby Cancer Center, the McLaren Macomb Healthcare Foundation will host BRAvo 2013 from 5:30-10 p.m. Oct. 15 at Penna’s of Sterling, 38400 Van Dyke in Sterling Heights. Last year’s event was attended by more than 800 people.

Roop Raj, FOX2 Detroit television reporter and anchor, will serve as emcee, with special guest Linda Lee, an on-air radio personality with WYCD.

This fun-filled evening will feature a gourmet dinner, raffles, live and silent auctions of decorated and celebrity-autographed bras, along with the winners of a bra-decorating challenge. This year’s theme is “Kicking Cancer with Style.” A portion of the proceeds will support the BRAvo for Women free mammogram program for uninsured women in Macomb County.

Since its inception, the free mammogram program has provided more than 800 mammograms for uninsured women, according to McLaren Macomb Media Representative Diane Kish. The program has also helped save lives by diagnosing cancer in eight women who otherwise may not have had access to a mammogram screening. Funds for the program are raised solely through BRAvo.

“It was a fabulous turnout last year, and that success allowed us to help a lot of people,” said Keigher. “I would say, as of today, we probably screened 850 women since January 2012 for breast cancer, and we have found several cancers.”

Keigher said it’s recommended that every woman get her first mammogram between the age of 35 and 40. That first screening provides a snapshot of the breast tissue, which doctors use to compare to future screenings that should be done at least once a year.

According to Elsa Silverman, director of the McLaren Macomb Healthcare Foundation, last year’s BRAvo event netted close to $76,000 to help uninsured women who met the McLaren Foundation criteria. Even if the patient does not meet the criteria, which are based on income levels, Keigher explained that there are BRAvo discounts.

The BRAvo dinner fundraiser will also consist of the ever-popular reveal of the BRAvo Challenge bra entries and winners.

During the summer, participants of the BRAvo Decorating Challenge competed in 12 categories. Entries were dedicated in honor of or in memory of a colleague, friend or family member diagnosed with breast cancer. One bra has been selected as the grand prize winner and announced at BRAvo.

Some of the celebrities that signed this year’s decorated bras include Miranda Lambert, Hunter Hayes, Jewel, Fun., Lady Antebellum, Sheryl Crow, Scotty McCreery, Thompson Square, Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan and the Eli Young Band.

In addition, Detroit Tiger Miguel Cabrera, former University of Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson and Detroit Red Wing Pavel Datsyuk have autographed bras. Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood have signed decorated boots, while Sheryl Crow, Kellie Pickler and The Band Perry have autographed decorated stiletto shoes.

Tickets are $40 each. For more information regarding tickets or sponsorship opportunities, please call the McLaren Macomb Healthcare Foundation at (586) 741-4330 or go to