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 ten 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 120-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.

Around 7-8 months 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. Most importantly their friends and family (co-survivors) are there to celebrate with them.

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 History 

Bra Couture® KC was founded by Sharon Butler Payne in 2010. She was aware of a similar event in Austin and after surviving breast cancer in 2009, wanted to bring it to Kansas City. When the University of Kansas approved moving forward, they specifically wanted to create a Patients in Need Fund to cover cancer services for uninsured/underinsured cancer patients...our hearts were struck with passion.

Having The University of Kansas Cancer Center as a launch partner, the response from Kansas City 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.

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 and our safety net hospital, Truman Medical Center, who support uninsured/underinsured men, women, and children touched by all cancers and has raised close to $3M in the past eight years. Learn more about our annual event


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 $3M mark in contributions raised for cancer support and prevention, cancer services and cancer survivorship for Kansas City’s uninsured at our 2020 event.

The annual event, which raised $360,000 in 2018, and $400,000 in 2019, is done almost entirely with the support of volunteers and a dedicated board of directors. 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. Visit our Who We Help page for details on all of our cancer services centers.

Click here to learn how the $400,000 raised at our 2019 event is supporting cancer patients right now in Kansas City.

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.


  • Gary Williamson, President, CEO at N Line Industrial
  • Johnna Meyer, Secretary, VP of Human Resources at Fishtech Group
  • Amy Bradshaw, Treasurer CFO at Pivvot, LLC
  • Brenda Poor, Public Relations/Communications Freelancer
  • Julie Terry, Director of Digital Operations at Cumulus Media
  • Rita Hoop, In House Council – Master Transportation
  • Cynthia Olavarria Kaufman, Principal and Founder at We Connect HR, LLC
  • Dr. Kelly Meiners, Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy at Rockhurst University
  • Mindy Lallier, Marketing Specialist
  • Nick Kenney, Head Athletic Trainer/Director of Medical Services at Kansas City Royals
  • Karolyn Dreiling, Director of Development at University of Central Missouri Alumni Foundation

Sharon Butler Payne – Founder and Executive Director