110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
Braz Cause helps women fight breast cancer
posted Aug 16, 2013 - 4:40:59pm
In July, Shawn-Marie Batchelder celebrated a special 10-year anniversary, marking a decade since the awful day in 2003 when she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. Doctors told her she wouldn't live for more than five years.
Not only did Batchelder survive, but the Deltona woman has turned her experience into a way to help other women beat breast cancer.
Working with former Florida Hospital-Fish Memorial Foundation Director Diana Fish and friend and fellow cancer survivor Susan Bauerle, Batchelder hatched the idea of a fund-raiser that would help women afford mammograms.
Inspired by an email from Batchelder's sister, Charlene Lamb, that had a picture of a funny bra, the women conceived of an art auction whose works of art would be created from brassieres or otherwise meaningful to women. They formed a nonprofit called Braz Cauz, which has helped provide free and low-cost mammograms to more than 1,000 women.
Now it's time to get the creative juices flowing, as Braz Cauz 2013 is fast approaching.
Funky Trunk Treasures in Downtown DeLand partnering with the nonprofit to create the Braz Cauz Treasure Chest. Artists, or those with an artistic imagination, are invited to drop off works of art with a bra theme at Funky Trunk, 100 N. Woodland Blvd., through Sept. 25.
The artwork will be auctioned Thursday, Oct. 24, with proceeds benefiting Braz Cauz.
The artwork can be in any form, including paintings, mixed media, sculptures, glass, metal, fabric, floral, wrought iron, wood, photography, and many more. Local businesses are even encouraged to submit artwork to help promote their businesses. A law firm has already approached Cline about designing a "scales of justice" bra.
Artwork must be accompanied by an entry form, which can be downloaded at www.brazcauz.net.
Funky Trunk owner Kimberly Cline said she loves the purpose of Braz Cauz, and wanted to bring the experience, whose events have typically been in Southwest Volusia, into focus in the DeLand area.
Cline met Batchelder when she served on the board of the Florida Hospital-Fish Memorial Foundation. The hospital hosted several events for Braz Cauz.
Cline said women fighting cancer are amazing people. She designed a bra in honor of her mother-in-law, who died from breast cancer, for the first Braz Cauz event in 2010, which raised $10,000.
"Their stories are so inspiring," Cline said. "Cancer doesn't have to be a death sentence."
It wasn't for Batchelder. First diagnosed at the age of 36, she went through a lumpectomy in 2003 and a double mastectomy in 2009. Her experience taught her the importance of mammograms, which can detect breast cancer in its early stages and improve a woman's chance of survival.
Normally, mammograms cost about $500, Batchelder said. But, during Braz Cauz events, such as Breast Cancer Month in October, the hospital has offered the exams for only $99. Eligible women can get them for free.
Because of privacy issues, Braz Cauz never knows the outcome of the mammograms, but Batchelder knows one person whose life was changed because of Braz Cauz and the mammogram it provided for her.
"I'm very happy to know that we've saved at least one person's life," Batchelder said.
Batchelder said one in eight women are susceptible to breast cancer, and she urged women to get mammograms early, especially if they have a family history of the disease. She also said mammograms don't hurt, they only squeeze a little and put pressure on your breast.
Batchelder hopes Braz Cauz can continue to grow and receive more funding so it can offer other services to women diagnosed with breast cancer. She would love to be able to provide women with wigs and prostheses, and help pay for medication that health insurance won't cover.
She also wants to provide information. Batchelder said, for example, that many women don't know that if a doctor prescribes a mastectomy bra, insurance will likely pay for it.
Braz Cauz needs the continued help and support of the community to reach its goals.
Local artists, art students, businesses, nonprofit organizations and community members, men and women, are invited to enter art and support the cause.
Breast cancer is something that touches so many lives, Cline said. The women who are fighting it are mothers, grandmothers, daughters, sisters and aunts.
"Breast cancer isn't just in October," Batchelder said. "It doesn't go away in October. It's amazing how the community, from DeBary to DeLand gets that. They're always wearing their inner pink ribbons."
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