Sweet Potato Queens plan anti-cancer ‘Bras Across Bridge’

The South Santiam Sweet Potato Queens will hold a fund-raising event for breast cancer research in connection to the annual Walk for the Cause and Run for a Life event organized by Soroptimist International of Albany.

The Sweet Potato Queens have announced the “Bras Across Bridge” event, to be held at 3 p.m. on Aug. 30 at Weddle Bridge, Sankey Park. They are planning to run the event annually.

They invite people to participate by donating a bra, decorated or plain, and making a tax-deductible contribution to Soroptimist International of Albany.

“Ultimately, we want to hook all those bras together and string them across the bridge,” Queen Tammy Roxanne Smith said. “It’s for a wonderful cause.”

Soroptimist International provides funding so women in the community can receive needed medical services, including detection, treatment and support services for diseases affecting women.

“Thirty-five years ago, a pap smear saved my life,” said Queen Tammy Kay Clark. All of this money will be used to provide services like that, along with mammograms and other types of screenings, to local women who cannot afford them.

A younger sister of Grand Queen Tammy Rogene Stock, is in her second battle with breast cancer, Clark said. “So it’s important to us personally and communitywide.”

Queen Tammy Lin heard about a Texas chapter of the Sweet Potato Queens that held a “bras” fund-raising event for breast cancer, Clark said. “The Santiam SPQs thought it was such a good cause and so much fun, we wanted to sponsor Bras Across the Bridge.”

All of the money donated to Soroptimist International stays local, she said. In 21 years, the Albany group has contributed nearly $500,000 to community health projects.

Last year, the organization dispersed $63,000 to Samaritan Lebanon Community Hospital, Samaritan Cancer Resource Center, Linn County Health Department, Evergreen Hospice, Valley Imaging Center and the In Reach Clinic.

As part of their involvement in the event, the Santiam Potato Queens found “the world’s largest bra” on eBay, purchased it and decorated it.

The Sweet Potato Queens are asking the community to participate by mailing ahead of time or bringing their own bras and contributions to the park, no earlier than 1 p.m. on Aug. 30.

If the bras are in memory of a loved one or in honor of a survivor, donors should feel free to attach a name or picture. All cash and check contributions and bras should be mailed to Rogene Stock, 43033 Green River Drive, Sweet Home, OR 97386 by Aug. 17.

The Soroptimist International Walk for the Cause-Run for a Life, including a new 5K run, will be held on Oct. 3.

Registration begins at 8 a.m. at the Linn County Courthouse, 300 Fourth Ave., Albany. The program starts at 9 a.m., and the walk begins at 9:30 a.m. The walk runs through the Albany downtown and historic areas. Cost is $20 for those walking individually and $10 for a T-shirt.

For more information about becoming a sponsor, call Jo Ann Banning, sponsor committee chairwoman, at (541) 928-6311.