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An ‘uplifting’ event at TPC

Bras for a Cause raises $15,000 to benefit the Sheila R. Veloz Breast Imaging Center in Valencia

Posted: October 21, 2009 10:18 p.m.
Updated: October 22, 2009 4:30 a.m.

Bob Hudson bids on the Italy-themed "Abroad."

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It was an uplifting afternoon in more ways than one when Soroptimist International of Santa Clarita Valley recently hosted the sixth annual "Bras for a Cause" event at the Tournament Players Club in Valencia.

The event transformed the elegant backdrop of the Oaks Grille into a worldly wonderland during this year's event that boasted the theme - "Sisterhood of the Traveling Bra - Bras from around the World."

Guests didn't have to board a plane overseas to get a glimpse of far-off lands. For the price of a $65 "passport" attendees were transported on a trip around the silent auction tables to delight in 24 multicultural bras on display for bidding.

Donated by local businesses, organizations and community members, each bra was handcrafted to symbolize a travel destination worth hooking.

From Japan to the Caribbean, Argentina to Uganda, guests departed on the voyage toward supporting breast cancer awareness by bidding on the destination of their choice, starting at $30 an undergarment.

The Mexican themed bra "Hot Tamale" was a hot commodity as were bras such as "Grecian Goddess" and "Tango Tango" among others.

The event raised more than $15,000.

"Passport to Positivity" was the bra display donated by Colleen Shaffer and Circle of Hope, a breast cancer support group.

"I am a firm believer that everyone has to work together in support of individuals with breast cancer and all those affected by it," said Shaffer. "Being at this event goes beyond just buying a pretty bra, but it is important to the future of this cause that we can provide an element of hope. We can do it, with 110 percent support to benefit the women who need it most."

"It's amazing to look around and see all of the detail and creativity in each one of these bras," said Donna Kreutz, Soroptimist SCV president. "Everyone is having a great time and there is so much to enjoy."

To compliment the exotic sensation circulating the room, guests were treated with an array of international cuisine to nibble while perusing the social scene. Savory offerings were presented in an arrangement of gourmet sushi creations as well as traditional Mediterranean fare, among others.

Guests enjoyed a special wine tasting room, where visitors could pair quality libations with the variety of tastes from around the world.

"Everything here is so delicious," said guest Diane Benjamin. "Not just what I'm eating but everything I'm looking at."

To further please the eyes of passers-by, a variety of specialty silent auction items were on display for bidding. The auction tables held gift baskets galore and were filled with prizes such as sports and entertainment packages as well as trips and jewelry.

When guests felt the need to wander, a short trip to the TPC foyer presented a visually beguiling array of merchandise from local vendors.

President-elect Sandi Naba co-chaired the event with fellow Soroptimist member Lori Hollister.

"We are here to raise funds for one of the main causes supported by our organization and this is such a wonderful way to do it," said Naba.

"This is our way of reaching out and showing support. Putting on this event has been a labor of love. We are smiling here today because of all the support we've received to do this and it feels really good," Kreutz said.

Strewn over the shoulders of many guests were pink feather boas, festively marking the famous color of the cause of breast cancer awareness.

Cheri Fleming, 2008-2010 Camino Real Region governor of Soroptimist was on hand to support the effort for the cause behind the bras.

"So many women are affected by breast cancer and are touched by it in some way whether going through it, or knowing someone who has," said Fleming. "Having an event like this one that supports awareness in such a fun way is really the best afternoon we can spend."

Since the organization began sponsoring the event six years ago, the club has raised more than $100,000 to help fund various breast cancer initiatives. Money generated has provided financial assistance to uninsured and underinsured women in the SCV undergoing treatment and recovery for the disease.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Sheila R. Veloz Breast Imaging Center located at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital.
Bob Hudson, senior vice president and chief financial officer at Newhall Memorial, said the center is an important addition to the community.

"From diagnosis to treatment to survivorship, everything is right in one place. I don't think people realize how much change has occurred in the way of progress at the hospital," said Hudson. "The level of care, state-of-the-art technologies and locality of it all really make this a center of excellence."

One guest of the affair agreed from her own point of view as an employee of Newhall Memorial.

"I have worked at (Newhall Memorial) for the past 28 years and it has been an honor to be able to watch the center rise from the ground up," said Terry Bucknall, director of the Breast Imaging Center. "This is a place that provides top-notch care to women with respect, dignity and compassion. I feel blessed to be a part of it in so many ways."

Kreutz is an 11 year breast cancer survivor and attributes the success of her recovery to a strong support system, which extends to Soroptimist International of SCV's fundraising effots.

"It is women helping women. It is so great to see everyone coming out to share in this experience with us today. It's very emotional," she said.

Since 1974, the group has supported a variety of local nonprofit organizations through their Community Outreach Program. From the name meaning "best for women," the group is part of an international organization of business and professional women who work to improve the lives of women and girls. With 95,000 Soroptimists spanning 120 countries world-wide, the organization continues encouraging women who are at their best to help other women be their best.

But members of the organization weren't the only ones inspired to help others. Hudson volunteered to conduct a live auction for the donated item of a 30-minute NBC News helicopter ride for two over the city of Los Angeles. The item generated much interest among guests and brought in $675 from the winning bidder.

"It was a totally last-minute donation that someone's friend offered to us over the phone," said Naba. "Completely unexpected and such a gift."

For more information about Soroptimist International of Santa Clarita Valley visit www.siscv.com.

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