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2011 ARTIST #1


MARDI BRAS by Dudes n’ Divas Breast Cancer Support Group @ Texas Oncology

Mardi-Gras = Mardi Bras = Pardi-Bras = Celebration, Celebrating Life

The main idea of Mardi-Gras is to celebrate, i.e. party, the actions or things people were giving up for Lent.

Your “Pardi-Gras” bra should be the affirmation of celebrating the one important thing you have to give up or lose…your life.

The Celebration of Life, or “Party of Life” itself should be your focus every day, not the possibility that life may be lost. As long as you have life and the ability to rejoice in that fact, the exultation of life becomes
a party.




2011 ARTIST #2


EVERY DAY IS A GIFT by Gayle Stowers

My bra is designed and produced by my friend, Julie Evenson, who is a talented seamstress and quilter, and who is also the technologist who performed the mammogram that detected my breast cancer in 2002.

The pink, shiny material symbolizes by bright, sunny disposition, while the pink leather represents a little “tougher” side of me (think “attitude”). The pink camouflage material represents hunting, which is an activity that my family (including me) engages in ever year.

There are several “gifts” that display photos of my family, including my amazing husband, Randy, our daughter, Abby, sons, Ryan and Devin, and just recently our soon-to-be son-in-law, Jeffrey and our first grandbaby, Harper. They are all truly blessed gifts and have helped me through some of my darkest moments.

I am a voracious reader, so book belongs on the bra. Part of my recovery has always been cooking, so recipe books are also important. I am a firm advocate of cancer research and awareness. I walked the 3 Day for the Cure (60 miles) in Denver in 2010 to help support the Komen Foundation, so the pink ribbons are also included.

Lastly, and certainly most definitively, at the center of my bra, is the cross that symbolizes God. I know that God has blessed me and has a reason for me to be on this earth. I know that he has performed miracles in my life and with my healing. He has shown me how important each moment is in our lives and has helped me understand that every day is a gift.

Sponsor: Paula Gibson




2011 ARTIST #3


PEEK-A-BOO BEAR by Mary Rohrer

Mary’s Peek A Boo Bear bra is inspired by the double meaning that comes from that game. Peek A Boo is one of the first games we play with the babies, they all love the game. Yet, men love when women play the game with their bras for them.

Mary has been a co-survivor for decades. Her father’s sister was diagnosed with the breast cancer more than 3 decades ago. Shortly after, she lost her husband to another kind of cancer. After her recovery, she had her other breast removed and went on to lead a happy healthy life until she was killed in an accident a few years ago. Her attitude was an inspiration to all of her family members.

Eleven years ago, Mary’s younger sister was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer when she went for a screening mammogram. Her youngest daughter was a preschooler at the time, so Mary was the one who kept her niece distracted by seeing that she never missed school or any of her other routine activities. They made lots of cookies and other goodies while mom and dad fought the disease. She has been in full remission since that time.

Eight years ago, Mary’s mother’s doctor found a small lump during her regular exam. She announced the news to her family with her plan to have her other hip and both knees replaced as soon as she recovered from her lumpectomy and cancer treatments. She wanted to walk in the victory lap of the Relay for Life the following year. Unfortunately, complications began shortly after the final knee surgery. The cancer took her life almost three years ago but she fought until the end.

Mary has never been married or had children so in addition to the family history, now from both sides of her family, she has not done any of the things that might reduce her risk for breast cancer. All the routine screenings for early detection are the lifelines she clings to. Her connection to survivors continues to grow.

Sponsor: Kathy Edes




2011 ARTIST #4


RAINBOW BRA by Alice WilkieMay

1997, I was told I had breast cancer. I experienced cloudy days for some time. But, following my mastectomy, I saw the rainbow and the sun came out. Birds began to sing and I felt hope! I’m thankful to be a survivor and life is worth living. Sponsor: Texas Panhandle Family Planning and Health Centers She announced the news to her family with her plan to have her other hip and both knees replaced as soon as she recovered from her lumpectomy and cancer treatments. She wanted to walk in the victory lap of the Relay for Life the following year. Unfortunately, complications began shortly after the final knee surgery. The cancer took her life almost three years ago but she fought until the end.

Mary has never been married or had children so in addition to the family history, now from both sides of her family, she has not done any of the things that might reduce her risk for breast cancer. All the routine screenings for early detection are the lifelines she clings to. Her connection to survivors continues to grow.

Sponsor: Kathy Edes




2011 ARTIST #5


THE CUPCAKE BRA by Alice Wilkie

Every day of survival of my breast cancer, it’s like celebrating another birthday!

Butterflies are a symbol of new life, which gives us hope and strength to face every tomorrow.

Sponsor: Goodcare Health Services




2011 ARTIST #6


TO EVERY BRA - BE FILLED WITH BLOOMING HEALTH By Beth Engbrecht

I decorated this bra to symbolize the hope of blooming health for breasts, whether by a cure or, better yet, prevention. I thank all my waiting room colleagues who shared stories, friendship, hope, skin care advice, and cupcakes.

I am a four-year survivor of very early stage breast cancer, after a biopsy, three surgeries and radiation therapy. Having watched a close friend successfully manage this process previously, I knew it was just something I had to get through. But every week brought new treatments or results or appointments to be made or attended, or test results to pick up or drop off. No wonder no one likes to get sick--there magically appears an endless list of deadlines to get this or that done. Kind of interferes with just about everything else! It is a mind consuming process, with all kinds of options and new medical information to absorb. And who likes to be reminded on a very personal level that we are all mortal?

Eventually my smile came back and I had whole days, then weeks go by without thinking of breast cancer. It took long months for my body to heal, but it did. I wish there were shortcuts for this; but I do know that time keeps passing, carrying us along, moving us hopefully closer to feeling "normal" again.

Sponsor: Dr. Mary Ann Piskun




2011 ARTIST #7


LOVE OF PRAYER TO MAKE US AWARE
By Kellie Munson- Earlville, IL

Kellie is a friend of my mother who wanted to make a bra for the Amarillo Area Breast Health Coalition when she heard about the project. I don’t know her, but her work shows that there is a connection, even when it is just another friend helping to spread the message.


Story: Cathy Zoller, breast cancer survivor, Amarillo
Sponsor: Amarillo Area Breast Health Coalition




2011 ARTIST #8


CHARLOTTE'S WEB
By Sharon Felts

Long before there was a “world wide web,” there was “Charlotte’s Web,” the beloved endearing children’s story by author, E.B. White.

“Charlotte’s Web” tells the story of Charlotte, a tiny spider, Wilbur, the pig, and the human and animal inhabitants of Zuckerman’s farm. Charlotte uses her “web” to share the message, “Some Pig,” that ultimately saves the life of her good friend, Wilbur.

I have borrowed Charlotte’s web to share another life saving message… “Get Your Mammogram.” If you would like to learn more about mammograms, breast cancer screening and educational outreach, and breast health awareness programs right here in the Texas Panhandle, here are some of my favorite “web” sites:

www.aabhc.org (Amarillo Breast Health Coalition: a breast health educational and awareness outreach coalition)

www.abc4wt.org (Access to Breast Care for West Texas: a grant program providing women in need mammograms and medical services and administered by TTUHSC’s Laura W. Bush Institute of Women’s Health)

www.komenamarillo.org (Susan G. Komen for the Cure/Greater Amarillo Affiliate)

Sponsor: Faulkner Pest Service in Memory of Janice Faulkner




2011 ARTIST #9


CIRCLE OF LOVE
By Autumn Veach

Autumn is my youngest sister’s daughter and my goddaughter. She was very close to my sister who died, as that uncle is her godfather. Autumn has had to face many conflicting emotions these past several years.

My sister ignored health screenings and early warning signs for breast cancer until the disease had spread to the terminal stage. Then she endured more than two years of heroic treatments that gave her a few months of quality time to spend with those she loved. None of us will ever understand the choices she made.

My family prays that especially for those of the next generations will choose to make wiser health care choices.

Story: Cathy Zoller, aunt and breast cancer survivor, Amarillo
Sponsor: Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center




2011 ARTIST #10


BREAST SELF EXAM WITH A FLAIR
By Dudes N’ Divas

A diva dreams…
Lives her dreams…
Believes in her dreams…
And inspires others to dream.
A diva knows the importance of early detection.
Be a diva!
Dream, imagine, believe, inspire and make the breast self-exam part of your monthly routine.

Sponsor: Texas Breast Specialists




2011 ARTIST #11


LEARNING TO FLY
By Lynn Pipkin

How do you start a story that has altered your entire life? I was 56 when I was diagnosed and I was in the greatest shape of my life. I swam 20 laps every other day and had always been active in a number of sports when Cancer entered my life. I was still strong and chose to take on the battle with a vengeance. I had a double mastectomy with expanders inserted, estrogen, progesterone, HER2 and six tracers positive, 16 lymph nodes taken out, chemo, radiation, loss of hair, reconstruction that went bad on the radiated breast, and I had to go into a hyperbaric chamber for 40 straight days. I am now on the five-year pill. I could write about all the struggles that go along with this disease, but anyone that has experienced the C-word knows it all to well. I try not to let negativity raise its ugly head because with this disease, you need all the strength you have to fight against it both emotionally and physically.

I chose to create a bra with wings for several reasons. Mainly because of the group of girlfriends that I call my Ya Ya Angels, whom I have dedicated this bra to. As always, each friend rallied around me, participating in the creation. They are my true spiritual confetti who shower me with encouragement, and have stood beside me in the midst of this raging tornado. The laughter I share with them heals me, their humor is contagious, and the memories are endless. The pink bows added on the back veil have been placed there by each of my friends. Remember, long-haul friendships make you not feel abandoned. Many people withdraw during cancer, but to let your friends enter your journey with you, allow freedom of your disease.

Another reason for selecting wings is because I wear a prosthesis. It's now my best friend, since I can never leave home without it. One of my girlfriends, as we were headed to the lake (because I have a special prosthesis when I swim), called it my BYOB. Bring your own boob! This is just one example of why my friends are so priceless, especially when you allow yourself the power of humor. I also wanted the bra to be dressy and pretty so we included the netting. After losing one breast, I felt ugly and brokenhearted. My womanhood had been violated, but as soon as I put on the prosthesis, like wings it lifted me up again.

Another friend called and asked me if I had named my bra yet. I had a couple of things in mind, but none quite fit the look of it. Several of us have gone to Tom Petty concerts together, so she suggested the song “Learning to Fly.”

“I’m learning to fly but I ain't got wings, coming down is the hardest thing.” How appropriate the words were because at the pinnacle of my life, I was dropped off a pedestal. My Ya Ya Angels keep me soaring and empower me to have the courage to deal with this unfinished business. Plus, my sweet granddaughter also wrote a poem that is on all my thank you notes. Lynn Pipkin - Diagnosed Sept. 2008

Fly
Your dreams have to be what you make them. Your life must be what you want. But you must learn to Fly First

So take flight all you wounded warriors and remember that friends and family are the best tonic of all.

Dedicated to all my “Ya Ya Angels”

Sponsor: Tascosa Office Machines




2011 ARTIST #12


KEEP YOUR EYES WIDE OPEN FOR BREAST CANCER
By Nurses By Prescription Staff

Nurses By Prescription, a Home Health Agency, assists people in poor health. Caring for those who have lost their health makes us place great value on keeping good health for ourselves and others. Thus, the goal of our art bra is to encourage you to be proactive and protect yourself. Take steps to assure early detection of breast cancer should you be that 1 in 8 to get breast cancer.

The 3 basic steps that help us detect breast cancer early are:

1. Practice Breast Self Exam (BSE) monthly

2. Get a Clinical Exam Annually, from your provider

3. Get a Mammogram Annually after age 40

The 1st step, BSE, requires you to keep your eyes wide open and look at your breasts. What to look for? Anything “New and Different” such as: Lumps, skin dimpling, changes in skin color or texture, changes in how the nipple looks, like pulling in of the nipple, clear or bloody fluid that leaks out of the nipple.

Looking for changes means looking as you reposition your arms; this changes the way the breasts sit on the body and may make evident a lump, dimpling or pulling not previously noticed.

The 2nd half of the BSE Exam involves feeling the breasts for anything new and different or not normal for you. To find out more on how to perform BSE, ask for a Shower Card from AABHC or Komen for the Cure-Greater Amarillo Affiliate.

Remember, breast cancer, detected at an early stage and properly treated, is about 96% curable and often leaves its victim as if she had never had breast cancer at all.

We used peacock feathers because they resemble eyes. One bra cup is covered in smooth pink satin; the other in bumpy material, contrasts the smooth and bumpy roads we encounter in life. The black feathers contrasted with shiny rhinestones remind us that though darkness may entomb us for a time, we may have confidence that brighter days always lay ahead. The black circles represent the “cycle of life” in which we all participate.


Sponsor: Nurses By Prescription




2011 ARTIST #13


ANGELS ALONG THE JOURNEY
By Cathy Zoller

The angels on my bra represent all of the angels in my life who helped me through my journey with breast cancer. Most came into my life long before my diagnosis two years ago. Today a woman has many treatment options to discuss with her doctors. Because of the women in my past, I had decided on a plan of treatment years earlier.

The radical mastectomies of old were harsh by today’s standards, but for many women in my life, they provided decades of healthy living before they died of other natural causes. They are represented by the golden angels.

The white angels are the wonderful doctors who agreed to perform the double mastectomy and reconstruction I felt most comfortable receiving. A radical decision for many, but I knew it was the only way to guarantee that I would never have to face breast cancer again. There are no guarantees in life and cancer could recur again in another location, but it won’t bring with it the psychological issues that breast cancer carries.

And the pink angels are those who have been, are now, and continue to come into my life to show others that there is hope to see an end to this disease in our lifetimes so our daughters and granddaughters and generations beyond can focus on other issues.

Sponsor: Champions of Breast Health




2011 ARTIST #14


PRAYER INSPIRES HOPE
By Pamela Du Fault, Portage, IN

The title of Pam’s art bra says it all for her. My youngest sister has watched one sister come through the journey of breast cancer and one lose the battle. She prays for even better detection methods and cures that will lead to the end of the disease. Until then, she prays that she and her daughter will be spared.


Story: Cathy Zoller, breast cancer survivor and sister, Amarillo




2011 ARTIST #15


WHEN THE ANGELS TOOK HER
By Mary Veach

Though she remains healthy in her senior years, my mother was first touched with breast cancer when she lost her mother more than 50 years ago. Before that time, she was a strong advocate for preventive medicine and I am sure, like me, often wonders might have been had her mother had the advantages of today’s diagnostic and treatment options.

Through the years she has supported many friends and family members in their times of need but she was especially challenged by my sister, who died of breast cancer this year. This art bra was created to show the closure that came with her death, when the pain and suffering were ended.


Story: Cathy Zoller, daughter and breast cancer survivor, Amarillo
Sponsor: Amarillo Area Breast Health Coalition




2011 ARTIST #16


WALKING FOR THE CURE, BEFORE
By Joan Herbig

The Two Bras (Before and After) were decorated in Honor of my two daughters, Tami and Joyce, who after losing an aunt who previously battled breast cancer, and their father who had trouble walking due to circulation issues, decided to do the Avon Breast Cancer Walk in memory of their loved ones. I am very proud of my girls who decided to add their efforts to those of so many others across the country to find a cure that could benefit others. They have united our family in support and have increased awareness of the issue with both family and friends. Memories of the ones we loved and lost are enriched by the efforts of Tami and Joyce – and their growing team.

Sponsor: Maxor National Pharmacy Services Corporation




2011 ARTIST #17


WALKING FOR THE CURE, AFTER
By Joan Herbig

The Two Bras (Before and After) were decorated in Honor of my two daughters, Tami and Joyce, who after losing an aunt who previously battled breast cancer, and their father who had trouble walking due to circulation issues, decided to do the Avon Breast Cancer Walk in memory of their loved ones. I am very proud of my girls who decided to add their efforts to those of so many others across the country to find a cure that could benefit others. They have united our family in support and have increased awareness of the issue with both family and friends. Memories of the ones we loved and lost are enriched by the efforts of Tami and Joyce – and their growing team.

Sponsor: Janette Caviness




2011 ARTIST #18


NEW LIFE IN A BED OF ROSES
By Connie S. Wilson

Anyone will tell you that beautiful roses come with painful thorns. Working or being around roses causes pain.

That’s how I felt being treated for breast cancer. Everyone that was a part of my treatment reminded me of the roses. But the pain was still there.

After the treatments, I felt like I had been given a new life…like the butterfly. Beautiful and free to fly.

I want to say thank you to all that give to this part of my life.

Sponsor: Chicken Express; In Memory of Wanda Lockridge




2011 ARTIST #19


CONNECT
By Support Hose Plus

We have chosen as our theme for 2011...CONNECT. Support Hose Plus prides itself on connecting with our patients to provide them with the utmost care in addition to the absolute best in post-mastectomy products available. The best way to communicate our connection with Breast Cancer Patients is to display our Patient's Bill of Rights.




2011 ARTIST #21


THAT WAS THEN, THIS IS NOW
By Harrington Breast Center

This bra represents the transition through the 70s, 80s, 90s, until present day. In the 70s, the women’s liberation movement was moving forward and burning bras was a representation of their freedom. However, it was also a darker time for women represented by the darker color on the bra. The technology was state-of-the-art for the era but many women, although liberated, did not have mammograms and as a result many developed breast cancer that went undetected and took their life. The 80s brought with it a new found urgency for finding cures for cancer. Technology and medical treatments became more advanced and the push for women to have yearly mammograms became more vocal. Initially, there was an increase in the number of breast cancers found, but these cancers were still more advanced and difficult to treat.

Although the darkness persisted, there was a dawning on the horizon and light began to filter in. The 90s brought further advancement in technology and the development of many financial assistance and educational programs which focused upon early detection of breast cancer. Digital mammography emerged allowing more transparency of breast tissue making cancers more easily seen at an earlier stage. The darkness becoming less with more light on the horizon. The year 2000 brought fear that the world would end, but it brought renewed emphasis upon finding a cure for cancer.

The advancement in technology continued to advance and with it brought the Magnetic Imaging Resonance (MRI) which allowed radiologists to further evaluate the breast for smaller cancers. Today, more women are being educated that “early detection is the best prevention” and are finding it easier to access mammography and other modalities. While we still do not have a cure for breast cancer, the statistics show that breast cancer is being found earlier and treated earlier with better outcomes and liberating survivorship. The darkness is gone and a much brighter future lies ahead represented by the brighter side of the bra.

Sponsor: Janey’s at 2500




2011 ARTIST #22


MY GUARDIAN ANGEL
By Donna King and Cathy Zoller

Donna King and my mom have been neighbors and friends for several years now. She was a great help for mother as she had coped with the breast cancer journey of her sister and two daughters. When I mentioned the Bra Talk project, she was the first to volunteer to make a bra for us and started right away on the project.

Because of these experiences, Donna ignored the little voice in her heat that told her an annual mammogram might not really be needed this spring. Her shock turned into resolve. She flew through her lumpectomy and the chemo and radiation treatments that followed but the lingering side effects have taken their toll and she was unable to the complete the crocheted roses she had planned to make to place inside the pink ribbons.

Helping Donna complete the vision with roses left the bra art seem like a logical connection.

Sponsor: McCormick Co.




2011 ARTIST #23


COLORS OF THE RAINBOW
By Mary Rohrer

My Rainbow is made from Prairie Points. I love to sew so the color wheel is a part of my life. Thus doing something with fabric comes naturally. A rainbow of dreams, hopes, and love is what this bra’s design brings to ALL fighting Cancer.

Cancer is something I have grown up learning about. I lost my grandmother to cancer at the age of 6. Eleven years ago, my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer. 9 years ago, my mother was diagnosed. I have been a caregiver helping take them to appointments and treatment. I am active in the American Cancer Society Relay for Life starting 10 years ago. June 2011 marked the sixth year on the steering committee as the accounting chair. The support that I get working with them has helped me deal with my challenges as a caregiver.


Sponsor: Margaret and Jerry Hodge




2011 ARTIST #24


MADE A CHANGE IN MY LIFE
By Donna Williams

In August of 2009, a trip to the doctor changed in my life. This was my yearly check up for my mammography. Yes, most women just dread this time of the year. After all is said and done, they will call you if they find something. Well the next day, I received a call to go back in. I had all kinds of things running through my head. I closed my eyes and remembered that God said He will not put on you more than you can bear. Oh yes, I cried, but I also knew that I would not walk this journey by myself. I had my family, friends, and my church family. I told Peggy that I would do what the doctors said. While sitting there I closed my eyes. I told her that my Heavenly Father is here with me. He could heal all things in his appointed time. I took weeks of chemotherapy and radiation. Each day was a different journey. Cancer made me a better person. I learned to listen traveling to and from treatment. I learned to love when they held my hand standing by my bedside. I learned to embrace life when they held me in their arms. Oh yes, I have a new beginning. My life is different; I see new things that I haven’t seen before. I thank God for seeing the best in me. This wasn’t my plan. My Heavenly Father showed me that he was still in control. I could not have made this journey if it wasn’t for the doctors and the staff at the Harrington Breast Center.


Sponsor: National Home Health




2011 ARTIST #20


SURVIVORS AND SUPERWOMEN
By Emily McReynolds-Burnsed

On 3/19/2010, I was told those words you really don’t want to hear: you have breast cancer. I was lucky in that I only had to have a lumpectomy, two lymph nodes removed, and radiation (37 treatments). I was never sick and never felt like I had cancer. I kept going to the gym and hiking in the canyon. Even after radiation treatments, I would go to Soncy or across the street to Medi-Park and run. Some of my friends would say that I was their “hero”; but I never felt like a hero or even a survivor. I was only reminded that I had gone through this because of the scar and my “tanned” breast. I decided early on that I wasn’t going to let having breast cancer take over my life. I was going to keep doing what I had always done before.

I decided to decorate my bra like I did since we are all Survivors and Superwomen!! Even though I sometimes fell guilty because I had it pretty easy as far as my treatment went, everyone keeps telling me that I am a Survivor. I have always liked all shades of pink so I decided to decorate the bra using that color.

Sponsor: Coalition of Health Services




2011 ARTIST #25


SUNSHINE, FLOWERS, AND ROSES
By Janet Baker-Todd

I was diagnosed with breast cancer April 2005. Our son, Michael, was five years old and our daughter, Makaela, was nine years old. My husband, Robert, and I explained to them about the journey that I was about to begin to heal my body. My treatment consisted of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and five years of oral medication.

In 2008, Makaela saw the Bra Talk booth that was set up at The Race for the Cure. We walked over to the booth and spoke to two wonderful women. Makaela and I brought the bag home with its contents and began to design our bra and tell our story. We named our bra Sunshine and Flowers.

The year is 2010 and I have finished the journey of breast cancer treatment. Robert, Makaela, Michael, and I thought it would be a great idea to end this journey by designing another bra, so we looked for the Bra Talk booth when we participated in The Race for the Cure.

The year that I was diagnosed with breast cancer, we planted a rose bush outside of Makaela’s bedroom window. Roses can be both delicate yet strong. Makaela felt it fitting to find a fabric that had roses. We picked soft pink fabric with roses swirled on it and a border that had roses and green satin ribbon. The color pink represents breast cancer and the roses represent strength and courage. We decided to name this bra Sunshine and Roses.

In 2008, I wrote that God, family, and friends will get you through the scariest of times. I still believe that. Now, I would like to end this story with these words, “After a storm- comes the sunshine, flowers, and the roses to remind us of the beauty and rebirth.”

Sponsor: Support Hose Plus





2011 BRA TALK GALLERY

READ THE STORIES BEHIND EACH BRA

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Amarillo, Texas 79101

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