2009 ARTIST #1
Artist: Shara Anderson
Sponsor: Texas Oncology
My journey and diagnosis of breast cancer started March, 2006, with my last treatment falling just before Thanksgiving Day, 2006. That is just one of the reasons I used the turkey to tell my story. The turkey is symbolic of abundance, generosity, awareness, health and sacrifice. The turkey that reminds us to be mindful of the blessings bestowed upon us, not only on the fourth Thursday of November, but each day.
Through my diagnosis and treatment, I experienced abundant blessings and generosity from God, family, friends, health care providers, and those with cancer diagnosed before me who underwent treatments that were refined and used to eradicate my cancer. I became more aware of this disease and became an advocate to make others more aware. I truly realized the sacrifice that was made so cancer survivors, like me, are here today to tell our stories.
The turkey is also symbolic of new beginnings. I experienced and learned to appreciate the true meaning of Thanksgiving and my blessed new beginning, My turkeys represent my thankfulness to God for guiding me through this season in my life and blessing me with the ability to realize that through our trials, wonderful blessings are born.
The colorful turkey feathers are symbolic of the different colors used to represent the different types of cancer. The turkey itself is a reminder of the first Thanksgiving and the Pilgrims that fought to survive, even through adversity. The definition of “pilgrim” is one who takes a journey of great significance.
2009 ARTIST #2
Everything's Coming Up Roses
Artist: The Beta Sisters
Everything’s coming up roses…The Beta Sister Bra is a joint effort of a group of social sorority friends to honor their sister, Leesa Wood Calvi, through her journey with breast cancer in 2008. Cheryl McCartney viewed some exhibits from last year’s BRA TALK and encouraged the group to do it together. Darlene Brasington served as the bra model (over her t-shirt, of course) and artistic design was a team effort between Cheryl, Leesa and Mary Ellen Brandt.
The bra is covered in black and accented by tiny yellow roses, signifying the colors and flower of the sorority. The Xi Alpha Beta Gamma Chapter of Beta Sigma Phi surrounded their sorority sister with care, concern, emotional support, food, e-mails, electronic postcards, inspirational messages, bubble bath, flowers, and mints – everything they could think of to help their ailing sister while she was in chemotherapy. This is the third sister from the chapter to be diagnosed with cancer. The late Carol Callahan and Brenda Shepherd were members of this chapter when they were diagnosed.
Girlfriends are an important part of the recovery process. They are open to witnessing each other’s struggles in life. They checked in on Leesa every few days to make sure the needs of the family were met, too. Girlfriends signify the need that many people with catastrophic illnesses have, and that is a need for an organized support network the patient can call and count on. Each girlfriend offered support in her own unique way.
2009 ARTIST #3
"Fall" a Season of Beginning and Hope
Artist: Pam Atkins
Sponsor: National Home Health Care
My bra art is about the season of “fall.” It’s a season some think of as an end, but really, it is a season of hope…the hope of what is to come after the harvest. It is the season of celebration, embraced by all the brilliant, warm and comfortable colors that surround us. By gathering these seeds of hope and planting them, later, we can experience the new birth of spring. Gladness should be the predominant mood for fall. There is gladness, knowing that when we have worked hard, there will be a brighter tomorrow.
This bra art is a tribute to a very special person, whom I saw as a patient through home health. Her name was Goldie Holliman, and she was a tiny, little lady with a lot of spirit. The first time I met Goldie, I wanted to pick her up and put her in my pocket to keep her safe. She fought this disease hard and always with a positive attitude. Goldie never gave up, even when the disease won! She lost her battle in the fall of 2008; however, she was a great inspiration to me and all those around her.
2009 ARTIST #4
Sparkles of Hope
Artist: Paula K. Beard
The sparkling pink hearts represent all my amazing family and friends who helped me through all my surgeries and chemo. They were always right there when I needed them – no matter what! I cannot eloquently say enough to them to express how much their love and prayers helped me get through all those tough days.
Through my journey with breast cancer I have continually tried to keep a positive attitude, and trusted The Lord would be with me every step of the way. The light reflecting from the pink hearts is a symbol of the “light at the end of the tunnel” that I always focused on during my journey.
The shiny stars represent all the doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, every healthcare professional I came in contact with during this journey of mine. They were all so skilled, kind and helpful. I cannot imagine going through all that I went through without these wonderful people. Without a doubt, the brightest star was my nurse navigator, Peggy Smith. She went far beyond her nursing skills to help my family and me. Her loving ways and heartfelt compassion are without measure.
The pretty pink ribbons were placed for all the beautiful surviving ladies I met in the infusion lab who walked that jourey along with me during those dark days, and for those who are still walking that path. My love, thoughts and prayers are always with them.
2009 ARTIST #5
The Life Saver Bra
Artist: Barbara Petty and the Beta Sisters
Sponsor: McCormick Company Sales Communications Professionals
The Life Saver Bra is a joint effort among girlfriends of the Xi Alpha Beta Gamma Chapter of Beta Sigma Phi in Canyon, Texas. It is in honor of sorority sister, Leesa Wood Calvi, who was diagnosed and treated for Stage 2 breast cancer in 2008.
The colorful circles represent the variety of experiences a patient has learning to comprehend her disease. Some experiences are bright yellow - warm and sunny, like the many professionals who work with oncology patients. Some are orange, a color of transition and change required of all patients as they realize they are vulnerable to their disease. The green circles represent growth; the patient can experience growth during her journey. Red is the color associated with stop signs. Cancer patients have to stop and redirect their energies toward recovery.
Whether the health concern is breast cancer or other illnesses, friends provide a tremendous support system. Leesa knew she needed support throughout her journey, and kept her social sorority connected via e-mail. Her friends responded with care, concern, food, etc. to make her journey easier. Leesa’s email updates turned out to be a popular method of connection. By the end of her chemotherapy, over 200 people were on her update list, including friends, colleagues, church members and even her husband’s friends. Many people are concerned and afraid to ask “how you’re doing”, so e-mail can be an effective way to keep “everyone in the circle” so they can be “life savers,” too.
2009 ARTIST #6
Survivors and Angels
Artist: Melissa Black
I am a daughter and a friend of several cancer survivors, and the niece of someone who lost her life to breast cancer. Breast cancer has touched my life in so many ways, so I wanted to do something to honor all that have been touched directly and indirectly. This is a fight we, as a whole, will continue to fight.
This bra is to honor all who have survived, and all who have lost or have lost someone to breast cancer. The front of the bra is in honor of all survivors who are warriors and have fought breast cancer. They are survivors! The back of the bra is for all the angels who have walked through our lives and lost the battle to breast cancer.
In the middle of the front of the bra are three special ribbons. Each is in honor of someone close to me. One is for my mother, Leasa, who is a survivor. One is for my aunt, Frances, who lost the battle. One is for my best friend, Lissa, who is a survivor.
2009 ARTIST #7
Artist: Susan Boothe
“The pathology report shows the lesion to be cancerous.” That is one of the worst phrases anyone could hear, but... I am a survivor!
My story starts in October, 2007 when I received that dreadful news. I had spent my life staying healthy, doing all the things to prevent breast cancer – eating correctly, staying thin, breastfeeding my children, not smoking, but…I am a survivor!
October represents Halloween, hence the décor. It was a time of deep sadness, darkness and confusion. There were many appointments and many decisions to be made; God provided, once I turned control over to Him. He provided guidance when least expected.
In November, a godly woman encouraged me to get a second opinion. “This is your life; quit messing around with it.” More appointments, more decisions and God revealed His direction for me - a double mastectomy on December 17, 2007 with reconstruction.
December represents Christ’s birth. Christmas is a joyous time of celebrating our Savior and I am so grateful to have the opportunity to know and share the faith, hope, joy and peace I find in Christ. I am thankful for the great physician – Jesus, and my support team - a loving husband and friend, my girls, parents, siblings, extended family, pastor, friends, prayer warriors and God’s provision of godly, talented physicians ….I am a survivor
2009 ARTIST #8
The Girls Gone Wild
Artist: Robin Callahan
Sponsored in memory of Tasha Enloe and Avis Billingsley
It has been eight years since the beginning of my battle with breast cancer. What I want most is for every woman to be aware of is her body and any changes in it. I would like for women to be vigilant and proactive and not to be afraid of cancer, the doctor or what might be wrong. Not knowing is always worse. You can’t fight and win against something you don’t know about or acknowledge.
Every woman needs to be responsible for her own health care. Don’t discount a feeling and listen to your instincts. I am alive today because I did that very thing.
I went for a mammogram and then to my gynecologist regarding a small spot on my areola. She advised me to put some cream on it because it didn’t appear to be anything serious. I didn’t feel comfortable with that.
So, I went to my internist. He told me it could be breast cancer and sent me immediately to a surgeon. I had a biopsy and it was Paget’s disease of the nipple. I opted for a bi-lateral mastectomy with reconstructive surgery.
So, be your own best friend, follow your instincts and be persistent.
Go get your mammogram, do your self-exams and WIN the fight against breast cancer.
2009 ARTIST #9
Surviving the Wilderness of CANCER
Artists: High Plains Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Staff
Sponsor: T. Michael Dixon, MD
Our bra symbolizes the survival techniques that a cancer patient has to use to beat the obstacles presented by breast cancer. Just like any person that goes into the wilderness and a person fighting breast cancer, they both require tools for survival and each item on our bra symbolizes that SURVIVAL!!!
2009 ARTIST #10
Artists: Tana Nixon and Ashley Finchum
This prideful bra is dedicated to my Social Studies teacher, Mrs. Moody. The first time we met her, we felt a special bond within our class; her spirit is so alive.
We chose a patriotic theme, using the flag bandana and star buttons to represent her love for her country and the education profession. Even the short period of time we spent together before her treatment, we could see that that Mrs. Moody is passionate about her kids she teaches. The red sequins on each side represent her bright, special and sparkling personality, with glitter and shine. The crystal beads remind us of her strength and wisdom in being a survivor, with a “never give up” attitude. The patchwork design was created to represent a time in her life that was disrupted, but not destroyed. And to top this beautiful art design, the fuzzy yarn is a great reminder that Mrs. Moody is such a fun, energetic and carefree teacher and mentor whom we have missed a great deal.
Putting the cancer charm in the center of the bra reminds each and every one of us to never give up, to stand strong, and be proud.
2009 ARTIST #11
My Cross to Bear
Artist: Jane Judd
In January 2008, I was told I had stage four breast cancer and bone cancer – wow… now what do I do? The first thing I did was pray and then I started thinking about what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
Faith was, is, and shall always be first in my journey of life. My family and special friends will share a special part of my heart. I would also like to help others who need someone to be there for them.
I refer to my cancer as my “cross to bear.”
Where I have faith there is hope.
Where there is faith and hope there is courage.
Where there is faith, hope, and courage, there is strength.
2009 ARTIST #12
Artist: Dorothy Leija
“It’s your life, your choice.” At least, that’s what everyone said. Whether to go through chemotherapy, accept the full biopsy or undergo radiation; it’s your choice.
When faced with these decisions, I found solace in the Lord and his blessed assurance that He would be with me through it all. I also found support from my mother and children, who helped me to carry this “cross” in my life.
My bra design incorporates an extensive network of crosses to represent the many friends and family members who offered support during my recovery period. Co-workers stepped in to carry my work loads and friends offered to cook and help with whatever they could. Undoubtedly, this cross that was placed on my family was the hardest to bear as they watched their mother, daughter and sister walk down this difficult path. These same people who cared for me during this time also provided their time and talents to help me complete this piece. The pink ribbons around the cups symbolize my radiation exposure experience and the rhinestones represent the life-saving power of chemotherapy. There are also lace roses draped over a silk fabric to represent the new life that all cancer survivors are given.
Through this entire experience, the one thing I always knew in my heart was that no matter where I was in my journey, I would always have the Lord’s blessed assurance.
2009 ARTIST #13
(Long Live Survivors)
Artist: Elizabeth Liles
Sponsor: Nurses by Prescription Homecare, Inc.
The bra is designed and created by the hands of three generations, my mother, my 7 year-old daughter and me. As San Antonio natives, we drew our inspiration from my aunt’s love of the colors and celebrations that surround San Antonio and its rich Mexican culture.
There are three elements to this bra, each representing a magnificent characteristic of Carol:
Humorous – the placement of the sombreros (need I say more?)
Loving – the pewter heart placed in just the right spot
Beautiful – the colorful, traditional Mexican paper flowers that make the “ i Viva Survivors!” Bra glorious!
2009 ARTIST #14
Artists: Michelle Olivarez and Anna Shores
The Bisexual Bra is for breast cancer that affects men and women
I have an uncle who is in his 60’s and had breast cancer. The cancer was very small and the doctors caught it very early. He had to undergo the same process as a woman with breast cancer- the same chemo drug routine and all. The experience affected our family the same as if it had been an aunt with breast cancer.
Cancer is cancer; it is mean and ugly and does not care who you are – man or woman; black, white, red, brown; poor or rich; insurance or no insurance. Cancer tries to take what it wants, but its’ victims are much stronger than it is. That is why they are beautiful or handsome people who wear their scars proudly.
The pearls represent the small steps of every day and the symbols represent male and female.
2009 ARTIST #15
The Little Things
Artist: Dawn Watson
I have created a bra “Fiesta” in honor of my aunt and survivor, Carol Nentwich… a Christian, a daughter, a mother, a sister, an aunt, a “Gigi”, a fighter, and an inspiration.
I have created a bra “Fiesta” in honor of my aunt and survivor, Carol Nentwich… a Christian, a daughter, a mother, a sister, an aunt, a “Gigi”, a fighter, and an inspiration.
I have never had cancer. No one in my family has had breast cancer. However, a very dear friend is a survivor of this terrible disease.
I am amazed at her strength. She was very open and honest and welcoming of any questions. And I became aware of a few things I had not noticed in the world of breast cancer.
EVERYTHING is pink-not just the ribbons. The treatments are large and overwhelming and ongoing. Treatments and the pink never seem to stop. This is the reason the bra is a “large” pink.
Rhinestones are a reminder the disease is big, gaudy and ugly. Although my beautiful friend managed this disease with grace and elegance, the disease itself is still big, gaudy and ugly. No matter what color we paint the disease, no matter how much bling we add to the disease, it is still big, gaudy and ugly.
The little things seem to get pushed aside or buried. However, at this time is when the little things are most important. Even though pink is huge, it is the little pink ribbons your friends begin to wear in support of you that is important.
Faith is your rock and your church family unites. Gifts are brought with love and prayers. Music is your mental therapy. A cup of tea and a phone call make the day a little better. Holidays are more precious than ever. Seeing butterflies, flowers and snowflakes are reminders God cares and is in control.
I hope I helped make my friend’s journey a little more bearable. I have learned the little things are the important things! True gems have been placed in your crown, dear friend. I love you.
2009 ARTIST #16
Artist: Mary Zahller
A few weeks later, it came to me; we had moved here from Colorado a little more than a year before I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was going to do something that would express the idea of my “new” friends here and my “old” friends and family back in Colorado. But how would I do that?
After a few more days, as I was staring at the bra, I thought, “I’ll use both state flags that represent the two states. They will fit on the bra!” Of course, then I had had to decide how to do this. That took a few more days and a trip to the craft store!
I wandered the aisles for about an hour and kept returning to the aisle with the glitter! I noticed there was even glitter glue. I remembered seeing boas on another aisle. That was it! I was able to finally put all the pieces together and get started on my project!
I wanted to include that not only had all my friends and family helped me through the experience, but that my faith was always with me, also! I thought some more and added a cross to the bra to represent that part of my “support group.”
2009 ARTIST #17
Artist: Cathy Zoller
My Fancy Faux bra is dedicated to all of the smaller breasted women who have ever felt intimidated by ogling males. My small breasts still got me a husband and performed as needed to nurse my children. But when they were removed because of breast cancer, the marvels of modern medicine allowed my plastic surgeon to reconstruct new ones that are bigger and better, but still 100% natural. Those who ogle will never know they are admiring faux breasts
2009 ARTIST #18
Artist: Tiffany Fowler
Sponsor: Buckner and Cross, P.C. Attorneys at Law
When I first brought my “bra” home, I just let it sit for a few days. I had to think about what and I how I was going to decorate it.
I received the blank bra at the Race for the Cure walk back in October 2008. I am so thankful I got to do this. It has truly meant a lot to me.
If you look inside the bra you will find red, white and blue colors to represent the first fight my mother had with breast cancer in 2002. On the right breast cup is a prayer cloth attached to it. She, at all times, had a prayer cloth in her bra. The snowflakes are for the last day I ever saw her; there was so much snow everywhere. I used a lot of silver to reflect that not only did breast cancer affect my mom, it also affected everyone around her. Also, there is a broken chain attached, because one day, I and my “missing link” will be reconnected. Notice the ripped fabric on the wings- the 41 pieces to show how old my mom was. The ripped fabric also represents how I felt when I lost her. The bird on the shoulder is for the day I told my mom that a “little birdie” told me she was going to be okay. Lastly, the wings of white feathers represent that she is an angel in heaven.
My mom’s name is Sherri Allen; January 2009 is 7 years since she passed. I have a message for all those daughters that may be going through the same thing I did. Always make sure your mom takes care of herself. We, the daughters, need to do the same thing and take care of ourselves as well, and defeat breast cancer once and for all.
There is a phrase I would like for my mom to hear in heaven – 831 Angel. It is 8 letters, 3 words with one meaning – I love you, angel.
2009 ARTIST #19
I'm Wild About Lucy
Artist: Anne Johnson
For healing, God is the only answer.
For hugs, loving care and prayers, my husband children, family and friends are the only answer.
For laughter, “I Love Lucy” is the answer. I’m WILD about LUCY! Every day during my dose of chemo, I would bring my mini DVD player and watch my “Lucy” shows. She can always make me laugh even though I’ve watched the episodes a million times. The shows can also take me back to a time when life was simple and I had no illness.
My husband says I AM Lucy. The antics that Lucy always got into happen in real life to me. Too funny!
I make it each day due to my faith and my family. But, for a dose of laughter to forget my troubles, I’m WILD about LUCY!
Artist: Anne Johnson
2009 ARTIST #20
Hair Today Gone Tomorrow
Artists: Katie Martin and Sharon Felts
Sponsor: Jim Felts
From Katie, the daughter…The memory that stands out most with my Mom’s battle with breast cancer is the humor and strength in which she handled it. One day encompassed both. She decided to take control of her hair loss by shaving her head. How she went about it is what made the day memorable. She didn’t hide in a bathroom by herself. In true Sharon Felts fashion, she threw a party at her favorite hair salon and packed it with close friends who brought wine, cheese and fruit. We laughed, cried, and shared stories. It was the perfect day in what was a difficult time. Her humor is why we have “hair today, gone tomorrow.”
From Sharon, the mother…Hair today, gone tomorrow, indeed! I may have lost my hair, but I chose, that day, to never lose my sense of humor to breast cancer. I lost my hair and…
• saved a bundle on hair color, perms and haircuts
• never worried about dreaded “bedhead” or “bad hair days”
• didn’t have to shave my legs for 6 months
• was the only gal at the staff Christmas party of 3,000 people with hair
that matched the rhinestone buttons on her dress. It was my husband,
Jim’s idea that I wear my “party hair” that night!
• learned that a sense of humor, the love of family and friends, and strong
faith in God are no match for anything…not even breast cancer!
2009 ARTIST #21
The Stained Glass Glow
Artist: Debbie Hannah Skinner
Created in honor of breast cancer survivors, Donna Thompson and Bama Coward
As I watched these two beautiful friends battle breast cancer, I’ve seen their faith in Jesus Christ shine through their lives like bright light beaming through stained glass. Even in the tough times that accompany the breast cancer journey, their words and actions have consistently pointed me to the strength and sufficiency of God to sustain His people through all things . . .
Isaiah 42:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous hand. NIV
When His strength and light reside within us, even in the midst of darkness, a true, deep inner beauty is revealed.
I was looking at the beautiful stained glass windows in our church sanctuary one Sunday and realized how their lovely light, multicolored and gleaming, was a reminder of these two women (and their families), living out their faith in front of me. That’s where I drew my inspiration for the stained glass design.
Thank you, Donna and Bama, for the courage and strength of spirit you demonstrate to others. You glow, girls!!!