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Helping Hands: Bra Couture KC Cares for Local Cancer Survivors

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Angela Millsap of Orrick, Missouri, found a lump in her breast last August. Her battle against triple-negative breast cancer began immediately, and when Bra Couture KC caught up with her a few months ago she was one week away from her final chemotherapy treatment.


“There’s a light at the end of the tunnel now,” she said.


The light that day included a stop in the Bra Couture KC (formerly Art Bra KC) Appearance Center housed in the Richard and Annette Bloch Cancer Care Center at Truman Medical Center, where Millsap was fitted for a prosthetic and a new wig. It hasn’t been easy for the former hair dresser who will never forget taking her first shower after surgery.


“Not that hair and breasts define us as women, but they really kind of do,” Millsap said. “You feel like half of who you were, and Bra Couture KC allowed me to have all the pieces to put back together.”


To help put the pieces back together for individuals such as Millsap, Sharon Butler Payne founded Bra Couture KC six years ago in partnership with The University of Kansas Cancer Center. BCKC raises funds that help uninsured and under-insured cancer patients. Services BCKC supports at Missy’s Boutique, housed in the Richard and Annette Bloch Cancer Care Pavilion at KU, include cancer supplies, medication, transportation for treatment and lymphedema garments.


Bra Couture KC has raised more than $750,000 in the past five years. Besides our launch partner KU, BCKC now provides funding for similar services at Truman Medical Center, Shawnee Mission Medical Center, North Kansas City Hospital and Cancer Action. Bra Couture KC has assisted more than 3,300 uninsured cancer patients across these organizations and has purchased key lymphedema measuring equipment for the KU Cancer Center.


Additionally, every other month, Bra Couture KC and Surviving the Odds transports women from underserved communities to Diagnostic Imaging for early detection screening. To date BCKC and STO have served more than 150 women through these “screening parties.”


As federal funding and other major grants programs are reduced for uninsured and underinsured cancer patients, Bra Couture KC wants to provide these much-needed funds by raising and ensuring that all funds raised by BCKC stay right here in Kansas City to care for our own. HLM   WRITTEN BY: Aharon Butler Payne