Barb McKessy and Suzi Wyman have been business partners since starting the salon Ultimate Image and Esthetique together. But they had much bigger plans; they wanted to do something that would make a difference. The women were inspired by a few of their clients who had been diagnosed with breast cancer. They wanted to create something that would honor the women and men who are currently battling, or who have survived their battle with cancer.
McKessy and Wyman, along with Dr. Carol Slomski and Toni Brovant, came up with the idea for It’s a Breast Thing, a themed bra-decorating contest. The event kicks off on the first Tuesday of October during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The event is a unique and fun way to draw people in to learn more about breast cancer and, most importantly, to provide a platform for patients, survivors and doctors to speak about cancer. The first event was held in 2008.
Three years later, McKessy and Wyman started a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization by the same name to funnel the money through for those who need it the most: breast cancer patients. Dr. LaKeeya Tucker of Alliance OB/GYN is now the nonprofit’s educational advisor and moderator for the event.
“It’s a Breast Thing is meant to be a lighthearted, fun atmosphere for learning. We started out with the bra decorating contest with a goal of getting 30 bras. It has evolved into a safe place where patients can speak with survivors and doctors on a very informal level,” said McKessy. “We’ve had people that don’t understand their diagnoses leave the event with a better understanding of what they are dealing with.”
This year’s theme is “TV Shows of the 60s.” Prizes will be given to the top three bras receiving the most votes. The top 12 crowd favorite bras will be featured in a 12-month calendar that showcases the many faces of cancer, made up of local breast cancer survivors with a diversity of races and ages. Monies raised help fund grants for patients to pay for any portion of their treatment including traveling to and from treatment centers, medical bills, child care and everything in between.
The 2015 It’s a Breast Thing event will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 6 from 5 to 8 p.m. at Eagle Eye Golf Club in Bath Township.
For more information, visit itsabreastthing.org.