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Bra fundraiser supports breast cancer research

Posted: October 7, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: October 7, 2013 2:00 a.m.

Oriana John (right) hugs bra model Sandy Hekking, who was wearing the bra John won at the Bras for a Cause Fundraiser in Valencia on Sunday. The bra, designed with a "Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" theme, was one of dozens of the Broadway-themed bras up for auction. Photo by Jim Holt.

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Scores of women, many of them breast cancer survivors, showed up Sunday for the Soroptimist of Santa Clarita Valley’s 10th annual Bras for a Cause fundraiser, themed “Bras of Broadway” this year.

Before the stylish fringed “Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” bra was auctioned, Oriana John had her eyes on it.
She was one of more than a hundred event participants who came to the Tournament Players Club Valencia and who were invited to bid on “blinged-out” bras representing Broadway plays.

They found “The Lion King” bra, the “Wicked” bra and plenty of entertainment, baskets stuffed with gift cards for personal services, meals, weekend getaways, elegant home decor and personal items.

“That’s my bra,” John said pointing to the specially-designed undergarment fitted to a mannequin before it was auctioned.

When it finally was auctioned at the end of the three-hour event, John hugged bra model Sandy Hekking, both of them happy to have contributed to a cause promoting breast cancer awareness.

“I have a sister who is a 10-year cancer survivor,” John said, heaping high praise for the local Soroptimists who hosted the event.

Money raised supports the Circle of Hope and Sheila R. Veloz Breast Imaging Center, which provides free mammograms to local women in need. The Circle of Hope helps local breast cancer patients and their families with medical bills, counseling, fee negotiations with doctors and medical services, such as second-opinion examinations.

“I’ve known these ladies for forever and they’ve always been good to me,” said the event’s master of ceremonies Ed Masterson.

For cancer survivor and mother of two Barbara Barela and Mindy Burgess, the registered nurse who helped her through her ordeal, the event was a chance to reflect.

Barela only discovered she had a rare type of breast cancer after falling off a ladder and injuring herself in August 2011, she said.

When “doom and gloom” doctors expressed little hope for successfully treating the “aggressive” cancer, Burgess was there to guide Barela through the six months of chemotherapy and 28 sessions of radiotherapy.

“God, put Mindy in my life,” Barela said. “If God wanted me, he would have taken me the day I fell off the ladder.”

“She told me ‘It’s no longer a death sentence,’” Barela said, hugging the nurse who became her friend.
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