📷 Kristina Tokatliof North Brookfield has some fun contributing in a national fundraiser that will create a chain of bras to raise money for breast cancer awareness.
By Sarah Champagne
SOUTHERN WORCESTER COUNTY – An unusual campaign for Breast Cancer Awareness month is underway locally and it is one that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Kristina Tokatli of North Brookfield is collecting “gently used” bras from area women to create a chain of donated bras, as part of a national campaign called The Athena’s Cup Challenge. Tokatli has been promoting the fundraiser locally and has collected 884 bras so far. She wanted to collect 784 bras by Oct. 1, and she is happy to have surpassed that initial goal. The national campaign seeks to collect 200,000 bras overall and local fundraisers are still working toward that goal.
Donated bras must be back-closure hook bras to be a part of the bra chain, but front closure or hookless sports bras are also accepted; those bras are donated to shelters and other charities. Donors are encouraged to write messages in the cup of the bra of encouragement or memorial messages for loved ones who have fought cancer. After the challenge is complete bras will be donated to shelters. Worn or otherwise unwearable bras will be recycled into carpet padding.
“Cancer touches the lives of so many people, including my own family,” Tokatli says. “I believe raising money and awareness for the prevention, detection and treatment of breast cancer is deeply important.”
Tokatli is an independent consultant for Athena’s Home Novelties, which offers online and party sales of spa and beauty products as well as an intimate products line. The company, based out of Woonsocket, RI is sponsoring the Athena’s Cup Challenge. The bra chain initiative was started in 2009 and has gained traction since then, with fundraisers acting as “bra fairies” in local communities.
“Little did we realize when we began Athena’s Cup we would have the opportunity to touch so many lives and play such a large part in the conversation that is taking major steps for the prevention and potential cure,” Jolicoeur remarks.
Local coordinators like Tokatli seem to provide a lighter side to the serious topic of cancer prevention, even as several organizations roll out awareness campaigns in October. Tokatli can be seen in promotional messages for the Athena’s Cup Challenge wearing a bra on her head, allowing others to laugh and engage by getting rid of old and worn bras.
Tokatli hopes to set up bra collection boxes locally soon but so far, she has accepted bra donations by arranging to pick up donations from individuals. You can text or call Kristina at (508) 425-9587 to arrange a time when she can pick up individual or group donations. You can also reach her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can mail donations to the campaign headquarters: 640 Winter Street, Woonsocket, RI, 02895. The group recommends a $5 donation to accompany any donation of one or more bras, but all contributions are welcome. The Athena’s Cup is a registered 501(c)(3) organization and proceeds from this campaign will support The American Cancer Society, The Gloria Gemma Foundation and Planned Parenthood’s Breast Cancer Screening program.