How your $400,000 raised on April 12, 2019 is helping uninsured/underinsured cancer patients in Kansas City 

Thank you Kansas City for your generous donations to our April 12 Bra Couture KC event! This was another record breaking year in fundraising and it is important to us that you know how those dollars are impacting Kansas City.

New Cancer Services Center - North Kansas City Hospital

We are pleased to announce that we have reached a partnership with North Kansas City Hospital resulting in the opening of a new cancer services center at that hospital. Bra Couture KC funds will be used to create a Patient’s In Need Fund at this center to provide cancer supplies and services for uninsured/underinsured men, women and children. We are so excited to expand our cancer services into the Northland and grateful for this partnership with North Kansas City Hospital.

University of Kansas Health System 

At the University of Kansas Health System, Bra Couture KC supports two key areas; Missy’s Boutique, a cancer services center and Lymphedema Services:

Missy's Boutique Patients in Need

  • 3129 patients in need have benefitted (May 2011 to June 2019)

On average, our cancer center usually has an annual increase of 6-7% in patient volume. These funds will offer assistance to the growing need due to increased cancer case projections. Many of the offerings Missys’ Boutique supplies to patients are not covered by insurance, allowing our patients to obtain these items without hardship.

Bra Couture KC Lymphedema Program Fund

  • Lymphedema is a condition commonly caused by the removal of or damage to lymph nodes as a part ofcancer treatment.
  • The University of Kansas Health System is fortunate to have expanded lymphedema prevention services.The goal is to have new detection equipment at each of the KU cancer center locations with higher volume sites having multiple devices. This new technology will benefit breast cancer patients and provide easier access and potentially earlier detection of lymphedema.

There is opportunity to expand this program to lower extremity and other diseases for lymphedema prevention as well. This would expand services to include men.

Program expansion:

  • Increased total tests by 15.5% from 1st quarter 2018 to 1st quarter 2019.
  • 10/15/18 - Deployed 2 lymphedema detection devices in The Women’s Cancer Center at Indian
    Creek Campus
  • 11/18/18 - Deployed 3 lymphedema detection Sozo devices ( a Sozo device provides key
    measurements for a more exact treatment of lymphedema) in the Richard and Annette Bloch
    Cancer Care Pavilion in Westwood, Kansas.

Bra Couture KC’s goal is to have the Sozo devices at The University of Kansas Cancer Center locations in the suburbs, to provide easy access for more cancer patients and to help prevent lymphedema with earlier detection.


HOW YOUR $360,000 TO BRA COUTURE KC'S 2018 EVENT IS WORKING

THANK YOU KC FOR YOUR GENEROSITY

WOW! Your generosity has resulted in a banner year for Bra Couture KC in terms of dollars raised for Kansas City area residents who lack health insurance to manage their cancer. With these funds Bra Couture KC has added and expanded services to reach those in need:

The opening of Verda’s Place at the Sarah Cannon Cancer Center in Research Medical Center

Serving an additional underserved community, this new center provides wigs, prosthetics, lymphedema garments and other key supplies for men and women who have no insurance. This center will also issue cash vouchers to those in treatment who are too ill to work and cannot afford basic living expenses.

This center was made possible by the donations to BCKC by the many friends and family members of our dear friend Verda Salberg who lost her life to breast cancer last year. Listen to a testimonial of a patient at Verda’s Place.

200 New Mammogram Screenings

Bra Couture KC funds will support all ancillary costs associated with 200 new mammogram screenings, donated by Imaging for Women. Our first event on October 13th where we screened close to 50 women from in rural areas of the Northland who lack insurance, medical services and related support. This was an amazing event and the women were so grateful.

This will be followed by screenings scheduled for February, May, August and October of 2019 covering Jackson, Wyandotte, Leavenworth, Clay and Platte Counties. Our goal is to screen 50 women at each event.

Creation of a $50,000 Patient In Need Fund at the University of Kansas Cancer Center

Fund will pay for cancer related lymphedema services for uninsured men and women.

Bill McCann who is a cancer survivor and on the Bra Couture KC Board of Directors has been working with a national team on a bill before congress called The Lymphedema Treatment Act. Working with KCTV5 as part of our Take 5 to
Care support, Bill appeared on a segment with TV5 reporter Emily Sinovic focusing on this bill that would provide coverage for lymphedema services through Medicare and Medicaid.

Most insurance companies would then follow suit to cover costs associated with this life threatening condition that is caused when lymph nodes are removed during cancer treatments. With the support of KCTV5, we were able to obtain Claire McCaskill as a co-sponsor of this key bill. If you suffer from lymphedema or have a friend or family member who does, please contact your congressional representative to encourage support of this bill. Click here for the link to the TV5 segment.
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Additional Support to North Kansas City Hospital

An increased donation to North Kansas City Hospital that will enable the hospital to provide more supplies and services to the uninsured in their community.

Bra Couture KC also donates funds to support Cancer Action; the Bra Couture KC Appearance Center at Truman Medical Center; and our Patient In Need Fund at Missys’ Boutique at the University of Kansas Cancer Center.

This is the power of your donations to Bra Couture KC; thank you so much for your support!

SAVE THE DATE: April 12, 2019
Signature Hangar – Downtown KC Airport

AMAZING! We already have a 2019 $15,000 sponsorship commitment from the AUTOMOBILE DEALERS ASSOCIATION OF GREATER KANSAS CITY 

Watch for an update on sponsorship opportunities for 2019 in the days to come. Please consider becoming a sponsor, to design an art couture bra for the runway, to donate a piece of art for the art walk, to donate an item such as a weekend at a condo or dinner, etc. that would enhance a package for our live auction, or to be a volunteer at the event on April 12, 2019. Click here for more information on how to get involved. 

Thank you again for your generosity to Kansas City’s uninsured community.

The Bra Couture KC Family

5/24/2021


5/24/2021


5/15/2021


2021 Model Survivor Liz Cahill

5/14/2021

 Liz Cahill

2021 Model Survivor

Liz Cahill

My cancer journey started 25 years ago when the company I worked for; Lee Jeans started Lee National Denim Day. We worked to raise money for research, and I was privileged to lead this program. In 20 years, we had raised over $100 million for research and I had been fortunate to work with some of the leading breast cancer research doctors across the country.

Then, 15 years ago when my best friend was diagnosed with triple negative her-2 positive breast cancer I was able to tap into this amazing community to help her find the right treatment. 10 years later she is cancer free.

11 months ago I found myself on the other side, I too would be diagnosed with Breast Cancer. March 15, 2019, I received the call that I had invasive ductal carcinoma, aka breast cancer. All the studying I had done immediately left my head. I was in shock and had no idea what would come next. We had just moved to Colorado, and my new doctors recommended I get a mammogram. At 56, I had regular mammograms and at times had to comeback for additional test as I had dense breast tissue. When the doctors called to have me comeback for more testing, all I thought was, “Oh, a new doctor and my dense tissue, they were doing what my previous doctors had done."

Once they started the sonogram and immediately went to my right armpit, I knew this was different. After 15 minutes they scheduled my biopsy for Wednesday, and Friday we received the call with the news, you have Invasive ductal carcinoma. I was devastated.

I’m one of the lucky ones, who caught this diagnosis early. While I had 3 spots in my right breast (which I could never feel – thank god for mammograms!) it had not spread to my lymph nodes and I did not need radiation or chemotherapy.

My husband Matt is my Superhero. I had my double mastectomy in May 2019, and reconstruction started immediately. He has gone to EVERY doctor appointment with me. His love and humor has made this journey so much easier. At times he has been my Nurse Ratchet, but I love him so much for how well he has taken care of me.

My friends and family may not all live in Colorado, most live here in Kansas City. While they were not physically with me, I felt their love and support every day. Finally, I can say Breast Cancer saved my life. How? Well, during a checkup with my oncologist, Dr. Diab they noticed something on my back. They suggested I go get it looked at as soon as possible. Yep, you guessed it, I had melanoma on my back. Again, caught early, but not sure if we would have spotted this with out a doctor checking me out. I am now cancer free and finishing up my reconstruction next month. What a journey, but so grateful to my family and friends who have been there for me every step. Now it’s my time to pay it forward!


2021 Model Survivor Lisa Fassett

5/14/2021

Lisa Fassett

2020 Model Survivor

Lisa Fassett

Hello, my name is Lisa Fassett. I’m 59 years old and I’ve been married 27 years to my husband Stan Fassett who is retired from the US Marine Corps. We have three children, a daughter Jaszmyne Elizabeth (32), Stanford William II (26) and Steffon Rynell (24) and one grandson Aiden William Fassett (8) with another grandchild on the way in March 2020.

My story actually begins in March 2001 when a cyst was found in my right breast during a routine mammogram. At the time of this diagnosis I was 41 and our children were 13, 8 and 5. In October 2001 after having a second mammogram I was told the words no woman ever wants to hear “YOU HAVE CANCER.”

With God’s help I went through the entire process which consisted of a lumpectomy, lymph node dissection, radiation and chemo. Life was good because I made it through chemo which was very hard and was cancer free! Fast forward to February 2019, during another routine mammogram a tumor is found in the same right breast. I was in total shock because I’d been cancer free for almost 18 years.

This time I’m diagnosed with invasive papillary carcinoma which is very rare form of breast cancer. In April 2019, I had double mastectomy and I just had the DIEP flap surgery in August. Having cancer affects everyone and everything in your life. I’ve had to push graduating from Baker University in December 2019 to hopefully May 2020. I wasn’t prepared for the difference almost 18 years makes in how slowly my body bounces back from surgery.

Dealing with fatigue and insomnia have been my greatest challenges so far. I thank God every day for His peace that passes all understanding and knowing that He has already gone before me. My husband Stan has been my rock and makes me laugh every day. To my siblings, extended family and my EC church family I want to say THANK YOU for your prayers, encouragement, love and support. I couldn’t have made it this far without each and every one of you. It’s your prayers that have literally pulled me through the rough times, especially when I couldn’t pray for myself.

If it wasn’t for my faith in God and knowing that He has a plan for me I don’t think I could’ve have made it this far. Jeremiah 29:11 NIV states “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” I tell my youngest son all the time that he has to allow God to write his story so that’s what I’m doing now, allowing God to write my story. While cancer is a part of my story, cancer does not and will not have the final say. Only God has the final say and He says in Exodus 15:26 KJV “I am the Lord which healeth thee” and since God said it, I believe it and know He will bring it to pass!


2021 Model Survivor Julie Filbeck

5/14/2021

Julie Filbeck

2021 Model Survivor

Julie Filbeck

My cancer journey started on a Saturday morning, a normal Saturday morning in which I randomly found a small pea size lump in my right arm pit. The following Friday I was told I had breast cancer and 6 days later I was told that the tumor covered ¾ of my right breast and all my right axilla lymph nodes were full of cancer as well.

It was 17 days between the time I found out I had cancer to the first time I sat in a chemo chair. Never have I been so thankful for a team to just look at me and say “we got you.” A lot of that time was a blur, so much emotion, so much disbelief, but through all of the tears I just remember saying to my husband “I’m not ok with my baby not knowing who her mama is.” My husband and I have 3 little ones, at the time of my diagnosis my oldest was 5 and my youngest was just 18 months.

After all the anger I decided that those 3 little babies were a really good reason to get up every day, even when the days sucked, and keep fighting! My husband carried me through this journey, he carried our home, he kept me grounded when I was scared, he made me laugh when I needed it, even crawled by my side to guide me, he fought the battle beside me. As a nurse I have always been the one to care for others, it was hard to be on the other side.

I love what I do and while difficult at first to be the one receiving care, this journey allowed me to see the gifts of so many people in my community. These are people that will forever be a part of my story, and I will be thankful to the Sarah Cannon team for picking me up at the most awful time in my life and carrying me and my family forward. I am grateful for each day I sat in that chair and they talked to me like a person, not like a person that had cancer. They listened to me talk about my kids, my husband, my brothers and my mom and dad.

They listened to whatever I needed to talk about to stay human through this journey. They showed me compassion and empathy; they made me more passionate as a nurse about the experience for all patients and families. You can never explain to people what the journey of cancer is like, and you can never explain to people how much the little things they do to support you along this journey mean.

Simple things like people sending cards (some even weekly ☺), sending messages, taking my kids to the pool for a fun day, helping with meals, spending the day with me while in my chemo chair, just calling to say “I am thinking of you.” That’s the stuff that gets you through this journey, that’s the stuff that hits you on a day that is awful and reminds you that you can, and you will get through this!

My battle with breast cancer continues even though I have made it through chemo, radiation and countless surgeries. As long as I am blessed with this life I will get up each day and fight, but I fight with a team. I fight with my family, my friends, with other survivors and with those that come to work each day at Sarah Cannon to help me win that fight. In my profession I live by the mantra of just give me chance. I guess you could say that is also how I showed up to battle cancer, just give me a chance and with all my might I will defeat you!


2021 Model Survivor Lacey Fisher

5/14/2021

Lacey Fisher

2021 Model Survivor

Lacey Fisher

On June 3, 2020 I attended my yearly well women’s exam after having cancelled my original appointment set for March. (Afterall, the world had just shut down in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and I was pretty sure I had a cough, maybe even a headache, potentially some chills, and definitely should NOT risk it. It would be irresponsible to keep the appointment, right? Right. Perfect excuse to avoid a pap!) During that routine exam, my doctor identified a very small mass in my left breast. She questioned if I’d noticed it before and I was honest with my response in that I don’t always know what it is I should be feeling.

She explained that her recommendation was to go ahead with a follow-up mammogram and I was scheduled for one just 5 days later: “Probably it’s nothing. You’re super young and don’t have a family history. It would be extremely rare if it turned out to be anything.” The tumor was not visible on my mammogram and only seen during an ultrasound; a procedure that was somewhat lackadaisically decided upon since “eh, why not? Your doctor said she felt something and you’re already here.”

A needle biopsy was scheduled for the following week. In the meantime, I received a phone call from a patient coordinator to explain that my doctor prefers her patients see a surgeon prior to the biopsy. In my naïve “there’s-no-way-this-is-anything-serious” brain, it felt a little overkill to be meeting with a surgeon before a biopsy had even been completed but I appreciated the thoroughness.

At the appointment with the surgeon, I was essentially walked through a cancer diagnosis: what to expect with the biopsy; when results would become available; types of breast cancer; and how a treatment plan would be presented before a team. I left the appointment in a state of numb indifference and prepared for the biopsy. On Wednesday, June 17, I received a phone call confirming that at 33 years strong, I had breast cancer.

Fortunately, my cancer was very early onset and I was a candidate for breast conservation surgery. I elected to have a lumpectomy of the tumor and nearby lymph nodes followed by 21 total rounds of radiation with 5 years of hormone therapy. No one is prepared to receive a cancer diagnosis.

At 33 years year strong, several years before mammograms are even recommended for women, and having zero family history of the disease, I was especially taken aback. Even now, it’s strange to call myself a “cancer survivor.” As the Executive Director of Kansas City Corporate Challenge -- a program with health, wellness, and camaraderie at the very core of its mission -- I have been given a platform to reach many people.

My hope is to use this platform and ultimately be seen as the posterchild for the importance of annual wellness checks, self-exams, and early detection. It truly can save a life. Cancer is a scary disease and it’s certainly not lost on me how lucky I am to have only had a “touch” of it. Care enough about yourselves and those that love you to take charge of your health.


2021 Model Survivor Mandy Garavaglia

5/14/2021

Mandy Garavaglia

2021 Model Survivor

My name is Mandy Garavaglia and I am 36 years ok. Wife to Johnny and mama to Stella (6). I was diagnosed with stage 1c ovarian cancer on January 17, 2018. Here is my story of how lucky I was to find this undetectable disease.

At age 32, we had hoped to conceive another baby through IVF. I had always thought infertility was going to be my biggest heartbreak in life, but boy was I in for more challenging battles eventually. During a saline sonogram to check my uterus to make sure it was ready for implantation, there were polyps found in my uterus.

A surgery was preformed and about a week later I got a call saying the pathology had revealed that I had a early stage uterine cancer also known as endometrial cancer. At this time I was told to discontinue fertility and see a GYN oncologist.

Luckily, I was able to meet Dr. Julia Chapman at the cancer center. Dr. Chapman said conception was out of the question until there was a complete reversal of the endometrial cancer. To treat the cancer, she placed a device in my uterus to stop the growth of the lining.

Fast forward a year, I showed no signs of uterine cancer and I was given the green light to continue my fertility battle. Sadly, our dreams of another child never came to fruition but little did I know that god had a bigger plan to help me find what could have killed me at the perfect time.

Dr. Chapman recommended that I had my uterus taken out in July of 2017. I had been monitored closely every 3 months with ultrasound and biopsy but I still wasn’t ready. I asked to wait until the holidays were over and scheduled the hysterectomy in January of 2018. A week before surgery we did a routine ultrasound. The scan revealed a 10cm mass on my right ovary that had not been there 5 months prior.

The new surgery plan called for a zipper sized incision in my abdomen. Dr Chapman would remove the right ovary and send it to pathology. If the tumor was cancerous , she would then make an incision up to the breastbone, perform a full hysterectomy, and search for cancer in other organs and lymph nodes. I did not know when I went to sleep what I would wake up to.

Those were the scariest days of my life leading up to that day. When I woke, I saw my husband and he was crying. He then softly told me I had cancer and would have to do chemotherapy. I went through 4 rounds of high dose chemotherapy but thanks to my husband, was able to use cold capping to preserve my hair and keep some normalcy for my daughter.

In September of 2019 I also decided to do a prophylactic double mastectomy even though I tested negative for BRCA. During this long battle of infertility, cancer and multiple surgeries I have learned so many things. I have learned to advocate for myself despite my age and family history. I feel so blessed to have found these cancers early despite what I have lost. I have clung to those I love and the army of people who prayed for us and continue to do so today. I try to remember that god created our emotions, not just the happy ones. My moments of deepest grief, deepest pain, have resulted in the most beautiful seasons in my heart. I've met God more intimately in these moments than in all other happy moments combined.


2021 Model Survivor Michelle Lemberger

5/14/2021

Michelle Lemberger

2021 Model Survivor

On a typical Saturday in September, I was blowdrying my hair after spending a hot day at the baseball fields watching my boys play ball. I noticed a difference in the mirror. A dimple in my left breast that didn’t match the right. Hmmm…that wasn’t right. And there seemed to be a small lump there that I hadn’t noticed before.

As an Ob/Gyn, I do a lot of breast exams and I am tuned in to the warning signs and typical findings associated with breast cancer. I knew this warranted evaluation. But, it was Saturday so it would have to wait.

On Tuesday, I asked a nurse practitioner in my office to perform a breast exam. I told her I had felt a lump in one of my breasts and I wanted to see if it was real or if I had made something out of nothing. I also purposely did not tell her which breast it was in. While she did the exam, I watched her face. Her eyes told me I wasn’t imagining it. And it felt different where the lump was compared to other parts of my breast when she was examining me.

I went to the imaging center over my lunch period that day and had a mammogram and breast ultrasound done. I was 41 years old at the time with no family history of breast cancer. This probably wasn’t cancer. I remember the radiologist apologizing for the lump not showing up on the mammogram images. He even showed me the mammogram pictures. I couldn’t see it either. Then he showed me the ultrasound. There is was. An area that was irregular, spiculated, and suspicious. All three descriptors I never wanted to hear about my lump.

It was at that moment I realized this may very well be cancer. Three days later I had a biopsy and the report confirmed it was malignant. I shed a few tears, accepted some fears and made the decision to take this on with positivity. I would not allow myself to ask “why me?” and made it mission to be an example for my family, my friends and my patients. Feeling sorry for myself was not going to be allowed.

I knew treatment was going to be a drain and I wasn’t going to let negativity strip more energy from me. Bilateral mastectomy was my surgical choice and I have no regrets with that decision. Chemotherapy for four treatments started about 6 weeks later. I remember my hair started falling out the day before Thanksgiving. Clumps of it stuck to my hand in the shower. I was so worried I was going to lose hair into the dish I had to take to the family meal the next day.

I was also concerned that I had large spots on my head without hair. I didn’t want to go to work that way. I made my husband, Rodney, get out of bed and make sure I would look ok fo the day. After getting home, he helped me shave it that night. And then he shaved his own head. I embraced bald and let it be another opportunity for patients and strangers to ask questions. I realized having an opportunity to be an example and educate my patients and other people was the “why me?”…MY reason to have breast cancer!

A beautiful soul, fabulous nurse and dear friend of mine, Lori Mansur, decided to organize a Gala in my honor. We decided to put all proceeds toward breast cancer care and research. For three years we held the “Save Second Base Gala”. Our boys played baseball together so the name was perfect for the event.

A total of $30,000 was raised at those wonderful gatherings. It was a great reason to put on our fancy clothes and spend a fun night together. It wasn’t until late 2020 that we finally found the perfect place to donate those funds. Bra Couture KC and the mission to help local cancer patients in Kansas City was exactly what we had been looking for in a charitable organization. Lori and I couldn’t be more honored to put those funds in the hands of Bra Couture KC to distribute. It has been almost 10 years since cancer became a part of my life. I can never repay those who surrounded me with love and support during my treatment and long after. And I will be eternally grateful for the journey that has taught me how to LIVE EACH DAY.


2021 Model Survivor Jo Nelson

5/14/2021

Jo Nelson 

2021 Model Survivor

1987 newly graduated RN and “self-imposed expert “in all things healthy – I found the first lump in my breast. Shattered myself image of perfection. It was a benign cyst. I got involved with the Lee's Summit Hospital auxiliary and became the auxiliaries “poster child” for the first mammography machine! As a health educator for the hospital, I taught thousands of women the importance of self breast exams, physician exams, and mammography. I also served on the American Cancer Society - Lee Summit board of directors; again breast cancer “expert”. Jump ahead 25 years, 25 mammograms, and even more breast sonograms to the spring of 2014. I figured this was just another cyst that I found. So I waited...About two months! It was still there, so I called my doctor. I wasn’t in a hurry since my mammo in December was normal. Two weeks past before I saw Dr. Hailey. She sent me immediately for a sonogram, even though we decided it was probably just another cyst! The radiologist came in the exam room, which is never a good sign! He wanted a biopsy to be sure. I got the biopsy on Friday as a nurse and a “frequent flyer” of the Lee’s Summit Hospital radiology department, I knew what the diagnosis was going to be. Monday, July 21, 2014, 3 PM, the phone call from Dr. Haley arrived. I had invasive ductal carcinoma...Breast cancer.

Why me? No, why NOT me? I had the experience, the education, the resources of a fantastic medical team, a super supportive family, and a huge God! Our team motto: Pray. Hope. Believe. Fight. And we did! 14 chemo therapy treatments, 4 surgeries, 3 surgeons, 3 hospital stays and numerous doctor with the best oncologist on the planet visits later, at age 57, I am a wife, mother of two grown daughters, a daughter in law, a mother in law, and a grandmother to two precious little men...I am 5 years a fighter!