“Come on ladies. He’s worth more than a 100 bucks. He put on a bra for you!”
With those words, auctioneer Laura Mancinelli urged her audience to up the ante for the custom-designed bras (and boxers) up for bid at the Bras for the Cause fundraiser of the Greater Clermont Cancer Found ation Saturday.
It was the seventh year the Foundation has held the event, which took place at the Heritage Hills clubhouse in Clermont this year.
The new twist was that many of the bras were modeled by firefighters — both men and women.
As event coordinator Kay Simpson said in her opening remarks, “I have learned one thing about firefighters. They can run into a burning building and rescue people and cats, but they have a hard time wearing a bra. They took a lot of coaxing, but they are here.”
The first entry, the “Studded” bra worn by firefighter Robert Siegworth went for $175. Tamara Richardson, as Cruella DeVille, got the bidding into high gear with an ensemble that fetched $500. Firefighter Dak Rakow didn’t hit that mark, but he set the tone for many of the firefighters with his campy approach to the runway, as he tossed stuffing from his bra into the audience of about 250 people.
Firefighter Eric Strange closed out the show, modeling his black kitty bra and doing his best to act cat-like. The two high bidders for the kitty bra, with bids of $500 and $525, decided to both pay up, according to Simpson. It was Ann Dupee who, with a $500 bid, got to take the bra home.
“I will have to see where it ends up, either at the fire department, or city hall or traveling around the city,” she said. “I’d like to do something fun with it.”
Noting that last year’s event netted close to $25,000, Simpson said she was hoping this one would bring in $30,000.
In her opening remarks, Simpson dedicated this year’s event to longtime Cancer Foundation supporter Kathleen Kelley Brown, whom Simpson described as our “Seminole-loving Irish valentine.” Brown died of cancer on Wednesday.
Unlike many cancer foundations, the Clermont organization does no research. Instead they give grants to local families who have a hard time dealing with the financial burden that can come with a diagnosis of cancer.
In addition the foundation gives scholarships to high school seniors whose lives have been affected by cancer. In 2013 they gave $76,000 in grants and scholarships, according to Simpson.
For more information on the Foundation, go to their website at www.gccf.us.