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St. Mary's Innovis hosts 'Battle of the Bras'

This camo bra was made by about a dozen members of the surgery department and is constructed of casting fiberglass. Heather Schleske, holding the winning bra, was the model and form for the bra as it was being made. (Brian Basham/DL Newspapers)1 / 2
The surgery department won the St. Mary's Innovis "Battle of the Bras," where individuals and departments designed their own bras in support of breast cancer awareness. (Brian Basham/DL Newspapers)2 / 2

What better way to showcase a breast cancer awareness campaign than to stage a Battle of the Bras?

"It spawned from Central Market's (cake decorating fund-raiser) and we wanted to make it a bigger splash for us," said LeAnn Mouw, development and communications director at St. Mary's Innovis Health.

So St. Mary's Nancy Henke, Denise Haglund and Marcia Heisserer helped organize a week full of pink-hued activities.

Monday included chocolate truffles and white chocolate raspberry cupcakes.

Tuesday included pink iced cookies.

Wednesday was pink iced cinnamon rolls, and Thursday was taco-in-a-bag, all designed to raise money for Project Pink.

Each day staff was asked to wear pink clothing and accessories, as their dress code allowed. The bra decorating idea sparked from Fargo's Hotel Donaldson's Bras on Broadway. Deciding they couldn't hang bras from the hospital roof, the committee came up with a lower key display.

"We're always looking for fun things to do around here," Haglund said.

"We're very serious about (the importance of women) doing self exams," Henke added, but promoting it in a fun way.

Haglund said the project has been fun for the staff, but also a bonding experience, because most everyone has known someone with breast cancer.

"It's fun but supportive," Heisserer said.

Individuals and departments were encouraged to decorate a bra however they wished, and the creations are displayed in the basement hallway of the clinic.

Staff was then asked to vote for a People's Choice -- out of 37 choices -- favorite at the Friday award.

There was everything from Vikings to Las Vegas, cowgirls to tropical. Some bras were "under construction" or "lifesavers."

Money raised from the sales of pink goodies throughout the week goes toward St. Mary's digital mammography machine, which will be in the hospital in January.

The bras traveled to Central Market on Saturday for the cake decorating auction, and will be on display during an open house for the mammography machine early next year.