Soroptimist International hosted its annual Bras for a Cause fundraiser celebrating 20 years of breast cancer awareness at the Hyatt Regency on Saturday night.
Bras for a Cause is an annual fundraiser dedicated to helping women from the Santa Clarita Valley with world-class screening, mammograms, treatment and support.
“We step in. And this event helps not just with the screening, but the treatment and support of the women in our valley. All the money stays local for breast cancer,” said Laura Chesler, president of Soroptimist International of Valencia.
Three hundred and thirty attendees were present wearing ball gowns and suits, sharing drinks, and bidding on silent auction items. Soroptimist has raised upwards of $530,000 in the span of 20 years since the fundraiser made its debut.
Lunch with the mayor, tickets to Universal Studios, a hand-crocheted blanket, and various other prizes were up for auction.
In her second year as chapter president, Chesler said her favorite part of the fundraiser every year is witnessing the community be fully supportive of the cause.
“We have amazing community sponsors who open their pocketbooks, and they sponsor a table, they sponsor a bra, or model,” Chesler said.
The main portion of the annual fundraiser is the live bra auction. Soroptimist women donated their time to make hand-decorated bras paired with live auction baskets that models wore for attendees to bid on. Tickets for the dinner event were sold for $150 each and attendees also watched video testimonials by guest speakers.
Patty Norona started the live bra auction portion with a fun dance number to “Let’s Get Loud” by Jennifer Lopez. She said it was a nerve-wracking experience, but once she was on stage, it was “empowering.”
Bids began at $500 and her bra and basket were sold for over $3,000. There were 12 models this year and each one of them danced on stage while showing off their hand-decorated bras.
Norona chose to be a model at the event this year because she has crossed paths with many women who have fought the disease. She walked in honor of them, “to let them know, no one fights alone,” stated the fundraiser program.
“The ladies did a great job with this. I love to support these organizations, especially when it empowers women,” Norona said, adding that next year she hopes to donate her time to modeling again, “if the stars align.”