October 9th, 2011 | Culture

Bra auction raises money for cancer

Women left the Omni Hotel with a little more support today.

Around 125 people made their way to the Omni on Sunday to bid on bras at the Art Bra New Haven brunch to support Smilow Cancer Hospital’s Breast Center. The auction took place during a brunch held from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. In addition to bras, artists produced graphic art, sculpture and jewelry to be auctioned off. The bras were all created by supporters of ArtBra and included everything from a bra with cups made of shells, to “Bucksome,” a bra with antlers instead of cups.

“Each one of the bras told a story,” said Gaye Hyre, the event’s organizer. “Every piece was about someone’s mother or sister or grandmother who has faced the disease.”

Art Bra New Haven was hosted and auctioneered by Bruce Barber, the host of NPR’s Yale Cancer Center Answers. Other celebrity appearances included Rep. Rosa DeLauro, the congresswoman representing New Haven who worked on “No Drive-Through Mastectomies” legislation, and author and breast cancer survivor Eileen Kaplan, who was on hand to sign copies of her book, “Laughter is the Breast Medicine.”

The event was organized by Hyre and Serena Hatch, both breast cancer survivors. Hyre said were inspired to put it on after seeing it organized two years ago in Middlesex. She said she wanted to host the event here in New Haven and give the proceeds to Yale-New Haven after they treated her for cancer.

“I can never repay those people for what they did to me, but I can try,” Hyre said.

The “Wonderful Mermaid” bra, a bra with a small stuffed mermaid in the cleavage, brought in the most money, earning around $400. The Wonderful Mermaid was hand-crafted by Joy Couturas, another survivor. In total, the event earned between $5,000 and $8,000, Hyre said.

Tickets to the auction were $5 and all of the proceeds from ArtBra will be donated to the Breast Center at the Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven.