Fighting breast cancer is as easy as strapping on a bra — if you're a man, that is.
The Bras for a Cause charity event challenges young men to strut the runway sporting their best homemade brassieres to raise money for the United in Pink breast cancer charity.
"When I found out what they were doing, I thought it would be a good cause, [and] I thought it would be a good memory to make," said Dominique Harris, a junior psychology major, who won last year's event with his jungle-themed bra and dance routine. "I was a little [nervous] given that I had never done something like that before, but I kept thinking about what the outcome would be and that motivated me to do it. I have a very adventurous personality. I'm the type of person that's just crazy enough to do something like this."
Harris said his victory came as a surprise in the face of his competitors' elaborate costumes and routines. For his efforts, Harris was awarded a Chipotle gift card and an invitation to return as a judge for this year's contest.
"It was a shock — I didn't expect to win at all," he said. "Some people had very elaborate showcases. Some had bras that lit up and stuff like that. Mine wasn't all that special. I was surprised, but I was glad my effort didn't go unnoticed."
Harris competed against 20 volunteer models in front of an audience of nearly 200 people, said David Eisenberg, a junior biomedical sciences major and president of Knights Go Pink, the RSO that hosts Bras for a Cause. Eisenberg said the room was so full that his organization actually had to turn away attendees.
"The first year we threw Bras for a Cause, we were shooting for 10 models and 50 guests," Eisenberg said. "About eight models dropped out or were no-shows; we actually had to call people up to get on stage. Last year, we had 20 models and so many people showed up we couldn't even fit them in the event space. People heard the music in the Student Union and just kept wandering in."
Eisenberg said this year, the event would host 30 models and as many audience members as can fit in the Key West Ballroom, which his organization reserved for the event. There will be six prizes, ranging from gift cards to a special tailgating gift basket featuring UCF merchandise donated from the campus bookstore.
"We actually had to apply for special permission to host an event with more than 200 people," Eisenberg said. "We were all totally surprised by the success. We raised around $250 in one day, all from donations collected at the back of the room."
Eisenberg expressed confidence that this year's goal of $1,000 would be met, thanks in part to the event's explosive popularity.
Bras for a Cause began three years ago as a charity project for LEAD Scholars, said Taylor Jones, a junior cinema studies major and one of the founding members of Knights Go Pink.
"Bras For A Cause started with a very random idea put out by a group member freshman year," Jones said. "We were trying to think of creative and fun ways to not only get UCF students involved but to also satisfy our project criteria, and one of the original members had done something similar to Bras for a Cause with her high school, and as a group we loved the idea. We thought it was a hysterical way to raise awareness and funds for our cause and it definitely is an interest-piqueing event — people ask us what it is and their immediate reaction is to laugh and love it."
WHEN AND WHERE:
Bras for a Cause will be held in the Key West Ballroom in the Student Union on Friday at 7 p.m.