HIGH COUNTRY — Local artists, organizations and community members decorated a variety of themed bras to fundraise more than $1,800 for the High Country Breast Cancer Foundation.

Vice president Joanie Venza said 54 bras were decorated to sell, and that the group’s founder, Irene Sawyer, donated her own money for the $1,000 cash prize to the decoration competition’s winner.

Although the High Country Breast Cancer Foundation has not been able to host all the events they usually would due to COVID-19, Venza said that they hosted their virtual 5K in late October and are continuing to accept donations and provide funds and aid to those battling breast cancer in seven different High Country counties.

High Country Breast Cancer Foundation uses 100 percent of proceeds from fundraisers to give money directly to those battling breast cancer to cover anything from medical bills to transportation to doctor’s appointments and more. Additionally, the organization has partnered with Paxman, a company which produces cooling caps to help prevent hair loss during chemotherapy treatment.

Beyond the generosity of the community members who donated or purchased the decorated bras, Venza said that local business owner Hailey Oliver offered the group her space for free to host the event. Oliver Style Boutique opened only last week in the Blowing Rock Tanger Outlets, but Oliver said she was happy to lend her space when recommended by the outlet’s manager.

Oliver Style Boutique is a pop-up shop that will be open through Jan. 15, Oliver said. She originally sold just jewelry through Paparazzi, a multi-level marketing company, but wanted to expand into clothes and other goods in her own boutique.

Steve Dunfee provided music throughout the night, and while the public voted for their favorite bras, the competition was judged by two celebrity judges, Charles Hardin, the president and CEO of Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce and David Jackson, president and CEO of Boone Area Chamber of Commerce.

To learn more about the High Country Breast Cancer Foundation, their services and how to donate, visit hcbcf.org.

Marisa Mecke is a Report for America corps member for Mountain Times Publications. Report for America is a national nonprofit service program which places journalists in local newsrooms to report on under covered issues.

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