Bra Couture KC: It’s Not About The Bra

It’s not about the bra.......that has been our mantra since we launched Bra Couture KC eight years ago in partnership with The University of Kansas Cancer Center to support uninsured/underinsured cancer patients.

So often we hear responses about how individuals just don’t understand “the bra thing” so we want to take a moment to explain: It’s not about the’s about the bravado of a cancer survivor to walk a 100-foot runway and the survival journey that it represents. From shaken to surety; from fearful to fierce; from unsure to unflappable.....a million dollar feeling.

Starting as early as September before the event, we have the honor of working with breast cancer survivors as we begin to plan and prepare them for their walk on the runway. And after every event what we hear from these survivors is that they felt beautiful again, they felt empowered again and this runway walk gave them a way to have a joyful experience with all of their loved ones after a long and arduous and frightening experience of surviving breast cancer.

This is “the bra thing” and even those of us who designed this event are energized by the healing power of the art on the runway and the models who wear this art. This healing power continues as we then take funds raised from this event into communities and service agencies that help individuals who face limited to no choices for their cancer care.....the power of your donations, your money, goes to change the outcome of a cancer journey for someone without insurance or enough insurance to cover their critical care items such as transportation for care, medication, lifesaving lymphedema garments and many other items including food.

Our Mission

The mission of Bra Couture KC is to provide life-empowering services to uninsured and underinsured individuals in the greater Kansas City area who have been touched by all cancers.

The Event

Our signature annual event is a unique and fun auction and runway show featuring cancer survivors modeling eclectic couture designed bras to celebrate their triumph over cancer. A tribute to survivors’ fighting spirit, Bra Couture KC donates funds to Kansas City service providers, such as the University Of Kansas Cancer Center, who support uninsured/underinsured men, women, and children touched by all cancers and has raised close to $2m in the past eight years. Learn more about annual event.

Leadership and Volunteers

Bra Couture KC was founded by Sharon Butler Payne in 2011. She was aware of a similar event in Austin and after surviving breast cancer in 2009 and wanted to bring it to Kansas City. Securing The University of Kansas Cancer Center as a launch partner, the response was overwhelming. The first year alone raised $90,000. Initially created to support uninsured/underinsured patients at The University of Kansas Medical Center, Bra Couture KC’s increased success has allowed us to expand services to other hospitals, cancer centers and community organizations.

 Bra Couture KC is volunteer driven and because of the dedication of these volunteers, our amazing sponsors and in-kind donors, together we can cross over that $2M mark in contributions raised for cancer support and prevention, cancer services and cancer survivorship for Kansas City’s uninsured at our 2019 event.

The annual event, which raised $360,000 in 2018, is done almost entirely with the support of volunteers and a dedicated board of directors. Click here to view our leadership team. From the many, many people who assist with the production of our annual event, to the people who help year-round obtaining sponsorships, increasing awareness of our services, and advocating for those we serve. We cannot thank those volunteers enough.


Funds from our annual event directly support local organizations that we partner with to provide cancer services to uninsured/underinsured women, men, and children in the greater Kansas City area. Please listen to a recipient of services from Verda’s Place speak of her experience.

 Our recipients:

  • University of Kansas Cancer Center
    • Annually provide donations to support uninsured/underinsured patients at Missy’sBoutique
  • Created a $50,000 fund specifically for uninsured/underinsured patients to have access to lymphedema services at the KU Breast Cancer Center
  • Bra Couture KC Appearance Center – Truman Medical Center
  • Verda’s Place Appearance Center – Sarah Cannon Cancer Center – Research Hospital
  • North Kansas City Hospital donation to support cancer related services
  • Cancer Action
  • Imaging for Women has donated 200 free mammogram screens annually to Bra Couture KC. This partnership allows us to fund all of the ancillary costs associated with the screenings and to hold four screening events every year for 50 women throughout the metro who are uninsured.

Our goals are lofty as Bra Couture KC wants to expand donor dollars into many other areas of the metro to reach those who have limited to no assistance in managing their cancer diagnosis and survival. Please join us by supporting our event through sponsorships, donations to our packages that are auctioned live from the runway, volunteering at the event or purchasing a ticket to attend.

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