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Giving from the heart

La Senorita is among the bras that have been decorated and donated in past years to the Langley Soroptimists
La Senorita is among the bras that have been decorated and donated in past years to the Langley Soroptimists' Bras for a Cause fundraiser. This year's gala is on Feb. 12.
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Champagne and roses, diamonds and chocolate ...

... glue sticks, glitter and paper maché?

They have more in common than it might appear, as Langley Soroptimists’ Bras for a Cause returns for its sixth big kick at cancer on Saturday, Feb. 12.

This year’s event, titled the Heart’s Desire Gala, isn’t a Valentine’s affair, per se — organizers don’t want people to think they can’t come if they don’t have a date. But the timing was perfect to give the cancer fundraiser a heart-y welcome back.

Langley Soroptimists, the women’s service club which has hosted the annual event since 2005, took a break last year while the Vancouver Olympics dominated people’s schedules.

It also seemed prudent to sit out the economic downturn, while giving club members a break from the labour-intensive project, said Kelly Poustie, co-chair of this year’s event.

Now that it’s back, the club is promising a return to the highlights that have made the fundraiser a hit in past years, selling out the 400-seat room at the Coast Hotel and Convention Centre.

Once again, there will be celebrity-autographed bras on the auction block, as well as 100 works of imaginative underwear art up for sale, with proceeds going to benefit Breast Cancer Clinic, Ovarian Cancer Canada and Breast Friends (Philippines).

It also promises to be another star-studded affair.

Actor Tom Cruise is in town and the committee is working on getting the movie star to scrawl his name across a silky cup.

They’re also hoping to get the cast of Twilight to sign and donate a bra.

“We’re working on lots of angles,” said Poustie.

They’ve already got one signed by the cast of Pawn Stars — a reality show which airs on the History Channel.

And in past years, such celebrities as Sara McLachlan, Michael Bublé, the Barenaked Ladies and even former U.S. president Bill Clinton have come through for the club.

Among the bras that are being decorated locally is a nursing bra which has been pinned open, revealing painted images of babies nursing on either side, and another made of wood, entitled “Flat as a Board.”

The second was made by Poustie’s dad, who lost his wife to ovarian cancer.

Another bra which will be on display was created by Sindi Hawkins, the former Kelowna MLA who died of leukemia last September.

“That one is pretty special,” said Poustie.

For her part, Poustie is working on one called “Heart of Glass”

“Which is interesting, because I don’t know how I’m going to get it there without breaking it,” she laughed.

Despite the finite number of puns to draw on, each year brings a host of unique designs.

“People are still surprising us,” said Poustie.

“Even when they use the same name (as a previous entry) the whole approach and creativity is different.”

The bras, many of which will be accompanied by valuable prizes, will be sold on tables ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘DD’ in the “not-so-silent” auction.

There will also be a “lively” auction of five or six big ticket items.

The evening will include live entertainment, and somebody will leave with a nice new bit of bling on their finger — a diamond ring valued at $8,000. Over the course of the night 400 keys will be sold for $20 each. The person who holds the key that opens the lock wins the jewelry.

Leading up to the gala event on Feb. 12, Save On Foods in Willoughby and Walnut Grove will host a fundraising event in their stores, with a prize wheel people can spin for a small price — with all proceeds going to Bras for a Cause. It happens Jan. 29 and 30, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Altogether, event sponsors have contributed $60,000 in cash and in-kind donations to the event.

“We are so please with out sponsors,” said Poustie. “Without their support the event wouldn’t be so successful.”

Anyone interested in decorating and donating a bra (the fee is $100) can find more information at brasforacause.ca.

Tickets for the event are now available. They are $90 each or $850 for a table of 10. Call 604-888-6605.

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