From left to right: Yvonne Rogers, Sheenagh Walker and Linda Whiteman of Boutique Belles Amies show off some of the bras that will be on display at the store for the month of October. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

Port Alberni store gets creative for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Boutique Belles Amies is inviting people to get crafty with ‘Bras for a Cause’

A women’s clothing store in Port Alberni has come up with a creative way to raise funds for Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October.

Boutique Belles Amies is inviting people to get crafty and decorate their old bras for a “Bras for a Cause” event that will raise money for breast cancer research. The bras will be on display at Boutique Belles Amies, where passersby will be able to vote for their favourite. The winner will receive a gift from Boutique Belles Amies.

Boutique Belles Amies owner Sheenagh Walker said she was inspired by a few similar “Bras for a Cause” events across North America. On the North Island, for example, the Flower Shoppe in Port McNeill started inviting people to decorate bras in 2010 and has raised thousands of dollars over the years for the Canadian Cancer Society. That fundraising event has also been paired with a popular “Victor’s Secret” show, where local men model the decorated bras.

Although this is the first time Boutique Belles Amies has hosted a Bras for a Cause event, Walker says she’s hoping it becomes an annual event.

“I would love to do this every year,” said Walker. “It’s a fun event to bring awareness to a great cause.”

The event will take place throughout the month of October, which is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Boutique Belles Amies will be accepting decorated bras until Oct. 16. Voting will be starting soon and will go on until Oct. 23. A donation is suggested for entries and for voting, but is not required. All the donations will go into a fundraising pool that will be going to the Canadian Cancer Society for breast cancer research.

“The timing of it is right,” said Walker. “And we’re a bra store, so I do always have bras on the mind.”

The staff at Boutique Belles Amies are certified bra fitters, who often assist breast cancer survivors looking for mastectomy products. Their goal is to help women find bras and mastectomy products that are comfortable and help them feel confident in their appearance.

“We see how much better they feel when they come in and get fitted,” said staff member Linda Whiteman.

Walker said she has also been personally touched by breast cancer in her family, which makes the fundraiser an important one for her.

The first few decorated bras are already on display in the store’s windows. One has been embellished to resemble a black cat, complete with googly eyes, while another has been decorated to look like a pair of pumpkins. The bras don’t have to be Halloween-themed, said Walker.

“We’ve had some people walk by already and have fun looking in the window at the display,” said Walker. “It’s a fun, interactive event that’s also COVID-friendly.”

For more information, you can check out Boutique Belles Amies on Facebook or visit the store at 5344 Argyle Street.

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