WOMEN are being encouraged to leave their bras at home for the day TODAY.
Although controversial to some, No Bra Day is growing in popularity. So what is it, and why is it being celebrated on Friday 13? Here’s what you need to know…
When is no Bra Day?
No Bra Day takes place TODAY (Friday, October 13) – in the middle of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
It’s also the day before The Big Pink, on October 14, the national fundraising day with Breast Cancer Care.
Some 50,000 Brits are diagnosed with breast cancer every year – while one in women will develop it at some point in their lifetimes.
What is No Bra Day?
The movement started in 2011 and largely takes place on social media, where women use the hashtag #nobraday to campaign.
The aim is to raise awareness and encourage women to carry out self-examinations, screenings, and make sure they know the signs of breast cancer.
Men, and women who don’t want to go braless, are also encouraged to take part – by wearing something purple for the day.
While ladies are encouraged to get a mammogram screening on October 13 – which can help detect breast cancer up to two years before it can be felt by the patient or a doctor.
You can also show your support by donating to the Breast Cancer Care charity – or attending one of their many October events.
Why is No Bra Day celebrated?
No Bra Day can be traced back to Toronto, Canada, and plastic surgeon Dr Mitchell Brown.
The aim of his original BRA (Breast Reconstruction Awareness) Day was to educate women about their choice for reconstruction when undergoing a mastectomy.
By 2014, BRA Day was being celebrated in 30 countries worldwide.
At BRA Day events, those affected by breast cancer can attend Q&A speeches with leading plastic surgeons, and hear inspirational survivor stories.
BREAST CANCER BASICS
Mum who beat breast cancer dies after getting terminal lung cancer just months later
A MUM who was given the all-clear from breast cancer only to be diagnosed with terminal lung cancer has died. Rebekah Cole, 40, endured months of chemotherapy, a mastectomy and radiotherapy after the was diagnosed with breast cancer in February 2015. But just eight months after she thought the worst was behind her and she […]
A MUM who was given the all-clear from breast cancer only to be diagnosed with terminal lung cancer has died.
Rebekah Cole, 40, endured months of chemotherapy, a mastectomy and radiotherapy after the was diagnosed with breast cancer in February 2015.
But just eight months after she thought the worst was behind her and she was given the all-clear, she received the devastating news she had terminal lung cancer and was given less than a year to live.
Within a month the cancer had filled half her lung, leaving her struggling to breathe.
Told by doctors there was nothing they could do Rebekah, from Shelley in Huddersfield, looked to overseas treatment in a desperate bid to survive for her children Isaac, nine, and Alysia, two.
A crowdfunding page, set up by her friend Samantha Rhodes, raised £20,000 for immunotherapy treatment in Germany.
But Rebekah died on November 20 at Kirkwood Hospice in Huddersfield, according to the Huddersfield Examiner.
Samantha told the website: “We have all truly lost what can only be described as an angel but her beautiful soul will live on and she will remain in our hearts, memories and minds forever.”
Rebekah’s husband of 18 years, Rob, previously told of how they decided to try immunotherapy after meeting a former patient of the German clinic who made a remarkable recovery.
He said doctors told them after her second diagnosis that resuming chemotherapy would be pointless and would only prolong her suffering.
During her ordeal Rebekah found time to become an ambassador for Paxman Cooling Caps in a bid to help other cancer patients maintain some control over their body during treatment.
Rebekah herself used the caps to keep her hair during her chemotherapy.
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The crowdfunding page set up to raise money for her immunotherapy treatment has so far raised £6,353.
The money will now be put towards a family holiday for Rob, Isaac and Alysia.
If you would like to donate you can visit their Just Giving page here.
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From doggy discos to break-up bashes, three women reveal the reasons behind their unique celebrations
‘I threw a divorce party’ Charlie Penna, 29, runs her own hot-tub hire company and lives in Cornwall with her daughter Teyah, eight. “When I first met Mark* at the local pub in 2006, I thought he was The One. He was tall, dark and handsome, and within minutes he had me in fits of […]
‘I threw a divorce party’
Charlie Penna, 29, runs her own hot-tub hire company and lives in Cornwall with her daughter Teyah, eight.
“When I first met Mark* at the local pub in 2006, I thought he was The One. He was tall, dark and handsome, and within minutes he had me in fits of giggles.
We fell in love really quickly, and in June 2009 I gave birth to our daughter Teyah. She was born with Peters anomaly – which causes blindness – as well as a brain condition, which makes it difficult for her to walk, but despite the challenges ahead, we were both thrilled to become parents.
I thought we were happy together, but in September 2010, I stumbled upon explicit pictures of Mark on his laptop, and some nude photos of another woman. I was furious.
When I confronted him, he confessed that he’d been messaging a woman in America. He begged for forgiveness. I was heartbroken and angry, but stupidly I forgave him as I wanted to keep our family together.
Two years later, in September 2012, we got married in Cornwall. It seemed like everything was back on track, but then months later Mark became distant. I demanded to know if he’d cheated again.
He just shook his head and said he needed some space, then the next week he texted me to end our marriage. Suddenly, I’d become a single mum in my 20s.
To make matters worse, Mark later told me that he was seeing someone else and moved in with her right away. It was heartbreaking, and I felt like a fool.
I allowed myself a few days to wallow before throwing all my energy into being a good mum and putting my life back together – I didn’t want to waste any more time on him.
When my divorce finally came through in March 2014 I felt such relief. At the time, I had a few drinks with my friends to celebrate, but as the months went on I realised I’d had a lucky escape, so wanted to do more to mark the occasion. In the end, I decided to plan a belated divorce bash to celebrate my freedom.
In July 2015, along with 20 of my female friends, I hired a hot tub to go in my garden for the day, before heading out to a restaurant for dinner and drinks.
I wore a T-shirt saying ‘Ain’t No Wifey’ and we had Just Divorced balloons specially made. The restaurant printed Charlie’s Divorce Party on the set menus – they told me it was the first time they’d ever hosted anything like it and loved the idea.
That night, I had the most fun I’d had in years. We did karaoke and sang girl-power songs like Beyoncé’s Irreplaceable and Destiny’s Child’s Independent Women.
Everyone had a brilliant time and there was no crying – it felt like a new beginning. Some of my guy friends questioned whether it was in bad taste, but I don’t think so.
Mark leaving made me realise I’m better on my own, so why not celebrate? I’ve remained single since the split as I want to devote my time to Teyah.
However, the party also inspired me to start my own hot-tub hire business, which is going brilliantly. I really am happier than ever.”
*Name has been changed
‘My boobs had a good send-off’
Sarah Pickles, 35, is a teacher and lives in Cheshire with husband Dave, 42, who is an adventure travel guide, daughter Lillie, seven, and son Monty, five months.
“I was just 32 when I was diagnosed with breast cancer in September 2014. I’d been to the doctor to see if I had the BRCA1 gene, as I have a family history of cancer, and although I didn’t have the gene, a mammogram showed two tumours in my left breast. I tried to stay calm, but I was terrified.
A week later, I was diagnosed with aggressive stage 3 breast cancer. Getting the news felt like a kick in the stomach. Until that moment my life had been pretty perfect – I was happily married with a beautiful four-year-old daughter.
As I listened to my treatment options, I burst into floods of tears. What if I wouldn’t be around to watch Lillie grow up?
My only chance was chemotherapy followed by a double mastectomy. A few months before, I’d been worrying about silly things like getting the shopping done, and now I was facing the fight of my life.
In November 2014, I started chemo. After each session I’d be in bed for days feeling exhausted, and my hair, eyelashes and eyebrows fell out.
At times, I struggled to find reasons to stay positive, but I didn’t want to give up hope.
That’s when I came up with the idea of a ‘Boob Voyage’ party after my chemotherapy was finished.
It would be something fun to focus on, and I needed a party to cheer myself up. In January 2015 I threw myself into planning the event, from renting a cabin near my house in Chester to ordering dozens of bottles of prosecco.
I even put together a music playlist and games like ‘pin the nipple on the boob’.
Whenever I felt tired or anxious about what I was going through, I’d think about the party and how much fun it would be.
Finally, on April 2, 2015, I had my last chemo session. I couldn’t hide my excitement from the nurses, and after it was finished I raced home for a quick outfit change into a gorgeous flowery dress before heading out with Dave to my party.
When I arrived at 9pm, I was greeted by 15 of my best girl mates whooping and cheering. It was such an amazing feeling.
My friend Nicola, 42, had baked me a boob-shaped cake as well as little boobie cupcakes. Dave had also bought me a bottle of my favourite champagne Veuve Clicquot.
After months of gruelling chemo, it was nice to have a few drinks, dance and feel like a normal woman, and it was such a release to forget about everything for one night.
Even though the theme of the party was saying goodbye to my boobs, I didn’t want it to be a big blub-fest, so I made sure I focused on having a good time rather than getting emotional.
My friends also did a great job of keeping everything really light-hearted, and we made a big fuss when I cut the boob cake.
The party came to an end at around 3am, and I woke up the next day snuggled up to a balloon version of myself that we’d nicknamed Betty Boobs!
It wasn’t until a week later that the reality of my impending double mastectomy sank in. But throwing the party meant I finally felt ready to say goodbye to my breasts when I had the operation the following month.
I’m now about to go into my third year of remission, and despite being told I only had 1% chance of conceiving after all my treatment, I gave birth to my little boy Monty in June. After everything I’ve been through, I’m so happy to give Lillie a brother.
I know a lot of people wouldn’t recommend drinking and partying straight after finishing chemotherapy, but it was the best thing I could have done. Having cancer is a huge burden, so I deserved to let my hair down – or rather take my wig off!”
– For information and support about breast cancer, visit Macmillan.org.uk or call 0808 808 0000
‘I’ve blown £7,000 on doggy parties’
Kimberly Freeman, 32, runs a dog website and lives in south London with her four pooches: shih-tzu Houdini, saluki Chaplin, and Pomeranians Folly and Jester.
“When I lived in New York City in 2009, dog parties were all the rage.
I was working as a stage actress after finishing drama school, and often went to Halloween and Hanukkah parties that people hosted especially for their pooches.
The effort that went into them was phenomenal – all the dogs would be dressed up in fancy outfits and there would be chefs on hand cooking canine-friendly treats.
The atmosphere was great, and everyone was really friendly, so in the end I joined in and started putting on parties for my own dogs.
In 2012, I threw my most expensive pooch party, but it was worth every penny. It was for my eight-year-old retriever Riley after he’d been diagnosed with cancer.
I wanted to have a big bash for him because he didn’t have long left. I hired a house on the beach for him in The Hamptons and invited 12 of his doggy pals for games, including doggy Baywatch (retrieving a ball from the ocean). I also served dog-friendly crab cakes, lobster bisque and desserts.
In total, it cost around £2,000, but it was priceless seeing Riley enjoy every second. When he died four months later, I was devastated, but all the happy memories from that day still make me smile.
When I moved back to London in 2015, I decided to carry on hosting birthday parties for each of my four dogs. We’d go to the park or I’d throw a barbecue at my house.
I’d order specially prepared doggy food such as sausage canapés or peanut-butter balls, and organise digging competitions. My friends and family thought I was mad, but once they saw how fun it was they came round to the idea.
In total, I throw about seven dog arties a year, spending around £200 each time. I’ve probably spent £7,000 on pooch parties over the years, but I don’t splurge on other things like fancy clothes for myself.
My boyfriend doesn’t mind either – he just lets me get on with it. As everyone has such a good time and the dogs love being centre of attention, I really don’t see the harm in it.
We can take life too seriously, so it’s healthy to have a bit of silly fun every now and again.
In September this year, I hosted a luxury birthday picnic in the grounds of London’s Imperial War Museum for my Pomeranians Folly and Jester.
I spent months organising everything, sending out invites and putting together a dog tasting menu, which included rosé ‘pawsecco’, tea and popcorn.
We brought lots of toys along and I made a cake out of dog food. The whole shindig cost me £300, but it was worth it.
On the day, I brushed Folly and Jester so they were looking their best and dressed them in little party hats.
Around 20 dogs and their owners joined us, and all the pooches went home with hampers full of treats including cake-shaped chew toys.
In all honesty, I don’t think I’ll ever tire of watching my dogs getting excited for their birthdays and dressing them up in cute outfits. In fact, I put more effort into planning theirs than I do my own!”
- Kimberly runs dog website Citydogexpert.com
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A-list stars like Fearne Cotton and Sheridan Smith are coming out for CoppaFeel!’s special fundraising event
I HAVE been beavering away pretty hard at a special fundraiser for CoppaFeel!. With my new role as an ambassador for the charity, I get to persuade famous people to support us and in return they get to help us save lives. It’s a pretty sweet deal but it’s getting increasingly harder to get celebrities […]
I HAVE been beavering away pretty hard at a special fundraiser for CoppaFeel!.
With my new role as an ambassador for the charity, I get to persuade famous people to support us and in return they get to help us save lives.
It’s a pretty sweet deal but it’s getting increasingly harder to get celebrities to support causes.
It’s not because they don’t care – they are already supporting so many organisations and relief funds or might even have their own on the go.
I’ve seen first-hand the huge impact a celebrity can have on fundraising, but also in just simply spreading a message.
I am very fortunate to have been working with TV presenter Fearne Cotton for six years and she has probably helped us raise more than £100,000 and reach thousands with our life-saving message.
Her aid has been invaluable.
But there can be an ugly side to celebs and charities. We hear of people, who already have vast amounts of money, being paid huge sums to support causes.
A YouGov poll in 2011 revealed that 46 per cent of British people believe most stars who promote charities are “cynically trying to improve their own public image”.
But it’s too easy to criticise them for doing too little, to moan how they should give all their money to charities.
With CoppaFeel! and our wonderful ambassadors, I see it all vastly differently.
Perhaps we have been very lucky to work with people who truly get what we do – not many famous people can be convinced to strap on a giant boob.
So we should all ask ourselves if we’re doing enough – huge salary and celeb status or not.
Recently, I somehow managed to convince a host of awesome people to give up their time for a big prize draw to mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
You can buy a ticket for a draw with prizes including afternoon tea with Sheridan Smith, a gig with Greg James, meeting the hosts of Celebrity Juice and a DJ session with Marcel Somerville from Love Island and Blazin’ Squad.
All very epic – and all require the stars to give up their time so that we can raise money and save more lives.
It is amazing that when you ask, people are usually more than willing to give.
There are so many wonderful people out there putting money and time in to great causes and I just happened to find a good bunch of them.
Please check out coppafeel-prizes.com and get entering.
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