For the third year, radio personality Mathew Blades is asking women to hand over new or gently used bras. The goal is to raise awareness about breast cancer and to encourage people to take action.
"My goal is to get people talking about breast cancer and how it affects all men and women in the Valley and around the world," Blades wrote on Mix 96.9's Bras for a Cause Web page. "We do it by creating a huge wall of bras, along with our crusade this year to provide 96 mammograms to women who do not have the availability to receive one on their own. We want to send a message of hope but also serve as a reminder that we are all in this together."
Dangling between a pairs of cranes and blowing in the wind, the wall of bras was clearly visible to drivers on Loop 101 and Loop 202 as they passed Tempe Marketplace.
"The most incredible part about this whole thing has been the action side of this, which is new to Bras for a Cause this year," Blades said Friday morning, just a few hours into his daylong "bra-cast." "We're offering up nearly 150 free mammograms to women [who might not be able to get them otherwise].
"The studies are out, the stats are out, that if you catch [breast cancer] early enough, the odds of beating it are a lot better," he continued. "That's why we're out here."
Blades and Mix 96.9 started their live “bra-cast” from Tempe Marketplace at 5 a.m. They'll be there all day – until 6 p.m. -- and they want to collect as many new and gently used bras as possible.
In 2011, Bras for a Cause collected more than 3,000 bras, which were dry-cleaned and donated to the Sojourner Center. That's where the bras displayed today will go. Sojourner Center provides shelter and support services to those affected by domestic violence.
"This is one of those things that people don't think a lot about -- donating a bra," said Connie Phillips of Sojourner Center. "When you think about women fleeing their homes, coming to a shelter setting, they're needing everything -- including bras. ... We just don't get enough donated. It's one of those basic needs that everyone really appreciates."
Each year, Sojourner Center provides safety and support for nearly 3,000 women and children.
National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is the perfect time to remind people that with the exception of skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women. It’s also the second leading cause of cancer deaths in women.
"Since its inception more than 25 years ago, NBCAM has been at the forefront of promoting awareness of breast cancer issues and has evolved along with the national dialogue on breast cancer," reads NBCAM.org.
Right now there are more than 2.5 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S.
Blades' twofold goal is really quite simple. He wants people to talk about breast cancer and then take action.
"If I have to put 3,000 of 4,000 bras in the air on a couple of Tempe cranes, that's what I'm going to do," he said.
For more information about Bras for a Cause, visit Mix969.com.