Full-figure deal set to perk up funds for American Cancer Society

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 18, 2008

How many brassieres would it take to stretch across the 1.6 miles of the across the Mississippi River at Vicksburg?

About 2,816, or at least that’s the estimate by Riverwalk Casino, which will give $1 to the American Cancer Society for each bra donated for stringing across the U.S. 80 bridge on Nov. 6.

The Bras for Breast Cancer was the creation of radio conglomerate Clear Channel Communications — which owns several stations in Jackson, but none in Vicksburg — and aims to raise awareness about breast cancer during October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Riverwalk Casino, which is set to open in late October or early November as the city’s fifth casino, was tapped as the local sponsor.

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“One of our primary goals is to support the community and be involved with fundraising activities. We get a million requests, but this one was not only for a good cause, but it was also such a fun idea that we wanted to be involved,” said Ginny Tzotzolas, Riverwalk marketing director.

To donate

Brassieres for Bras for Breast Cancer are being collected through Nov. 3 at Shape Up Sisters, 1808 S. Frontage Road, and Riverwalk Casino’s corporate office in Pemberton Square mall. The bras will be strung across the U.S. 80 bridge on Nov. 6.

Bras are being collected at two sites in Vicksburg and several in Jackson through Nov. 3. Shape Up Sisters at 1808 S. Frontage Road and the Riverwalk corporate office in the Pemberton Square mall are accepting donations, said event spokesman Rett Evans.

“We had a civil engineer figure out about how many bras we will need to span the bridge, and he did the math and came up with 2,816,” said Evans. “The stringing of the bras across the bridge is meant to be symbolic of the efforts to bridge the gap between the illness and the cure.”

The U.S. 80 bridge in Vicksburg will not be the first to be festooned with bras to raise awareness and money for efforts to fight breast cancer. An Edmonton, Canada, radio station raised more than $11,000 for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation a year ago when it strung more than 5,000 bras across the city’s High Level Bridge. Also last October, about 800 donated bras were hung across the railing on the Kansas River Bridge in Lawrence, Kan., with proceeds from the event going to a local health clinic to provide free breast cancer screenings.

This year, cancer support associations in west Ireland are attempting to break the Guinness Book of Records’ longest chain of bras in the world — currently held by a group in the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, which strung about 114,000 bras together. The Irish associations are aiming to collect 120,000 bras and form a chain of bras more than 70 miles long.

“An idea this untraditional generates greater awareness and hopefully leads women to get earlier screenings, which can ultimately lead to better outcomes,” said Kelly Lindsay, American Cancer Society director of communications and marketing for the Jackson area. “We were very happy to be contacted as the benefactor of the event in Vicksburg.”

Herman Smith, superintendent of the U.S. 80 bridge, has given the Vicksburg event permission to use the bridge, and said he plans to meet with event organizers soon to determine how exactly the bras will be strung across the span.

“I believe they’re going to have to string them out across the road deck. They will have to have them firmly attached to one another so none of the bras go flying into the river,” Smith said.

Smith said Clear Channel submitted an application to use the bridge and requested to use it from 7 to 10 a.m. on the day of the event. As for the fate of the donated bras after they’re strung across the bridge, Evans said Riverwalk plans to use some of them in their ribbon-cutting ceremony when the casino opens in the coming weeks.   


Contact Steve Sanoski at ssanoski@vicksburgpost.com