A cascade of red roses met with a sunny side of sunflowers as Krista Robitz picked up the hanger.
“Isn’t this just incredible?,” she asked, looking at Kelley Teston, who smiled and nodded in response.
Of course, there were other equally impressive pieces — one was camouflaged, others bedazzled in pink ribbons and rainbow pins — all were unique pieces specifically created for the annual ARTrageous Bra event, a fundraiser for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, hosted by the Southeast Georgia Health System Foundation.
Robitz, foundation director of development, says that the signature fundraiser for local cancer care was originally an in-house event within the health system, open to team members and physicians.
But, to engage the community as a whole, they decided to open it up to public in 2013. The bras are created then displayed in the health system’s gallery in Brunswick, Camden, as well as in a photo gallery online. One dollar votes can be offered for favorites.
Once votes are collected, the top winners will be showcased at an event from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Nov. 1 at the Ritz Theatre in downtown Brunswick.
“It’s such an easy concept for people to get behind. It’s a $25 contribute and for that contribution you receive a plain white bra. You take it away and can go crazy. You can have fun with your creativity,” Robitz said.
“We’ve seen bras created in honor of a breast cancer patient or in memory of a loved one. It’s just a great format and a fun way to raise awareness for breast cancer.”
Teston couldn’t agree more. She works as the senior manager for RADIAL, a customer service provider for the nation’s top brands, which has been based in Brunswick for 22 years, and says the company has enjoyed being part of the event for multiple years.
“In previous years, we encouraged participation and had everyone enter individually. We would complete them as a group but everyone would do their own individual entry,” she said.
This year, they’re switching it up. RADIAL, as a company, is purchasing 10 bras, for employees to design.
“We are really focusing on our philanthropic activity this year. We wanted to ramp up for a big five year push and this was our first big take. We requested blindly ... we just asked — however many people would do bras, could we purchase them? Within 30 seconds, we got a yes,” Teston said.
“I’m just so excited about the direction of the company and their willingness to be a part of the local community and the bigger picture.”
For Robitz, the decision of the company to go big for the cause is inspiring. While the fundraising event has garnered overwhelming community support in the past, she feels this is indicative of even bigger and better things to come.
“This is the largest participation of any organization. We are ecstatic to have RADIAL involved at this level,” Robitz said. “It’s incredible. The whole entire purpose behind the fundraiser and event is to get as many people in the community involved as possible.”
There is still plenty of time for more individuals and businesses to join the cause. Sponsorship opportunities allow for companies or generous donors to step-in and purchase a bra plus votes for their entry. The Survivor level is $500 which earns supporters an entry, 75 votes and a logo/brand name emblazoned with the submission. The $250 Champion option garners one bra entry, 50 votes and logo placement. Finally, the Fighter option is $150 which includes an entry, 25 votes and name or logo display.
All of the funds raised through the event stay local, going to directly fight cancer within the community.
Submissions are due by 4 p.m. Sept. 20 and registration may be completed online at wearethefoundation.org or their office, 2415 Parkwood Dr., Brunswick.
Teston hopes that others, especially other companies, will step up and take a similar position. They are ready to serve up a fresh new line-up of crafty, creative and moving designs.
“We have had a lot of cheeky entries before ... just really funny. But also some really beautiful ones,” Teston said.
“But we hope to have some competition. We’re looking for other businesses to challenge us — let’s see what we can do. We’re looking to prove how passionate we are.”