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Placer cancer fighters break out eye-catching bras

Artsy brassieres becoming a nationwide phenomenon
By: Gus Thomson Journal Staff Writer
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It’s whimsical yet serious. It’s about bras but it’s also about cancer. And it’s a phenomenon touching down in Loomis over the weekend that is also breaking out throughout the nation Annapolis, Md. survivors and supporters circled a city block with bras to press legislators to maintain funding for breast cancer support. A Houston, Texas bridge saw bras and boxers stretched across a major thoroughfare in a fundraiser for cancer research. In Northwest Ohio, the region’s American Cancer Society is asking for decorated ones for the Battle of the Brassieres fundraiser. Vicksburg, Mississippi’s main bridge was spanned by 3,174 bras in another fundraiser. Bra art displays and auctions are popping up from Washington State to Michigan to Texas. At the High Hand Art Gallery in Loomis, Pamela Libis-Moore will join other Capitol Corridor riders to present creations that have been made to honor friends and relatives who have died of cancer and raise funds to help the future fight against the disease. Libis-Moore, a Rocklin resident who joins members of the loose-knit Capitol Corridor Riders on daily commutes between Auburn and Sacramento, said she’s not an artist but drew inspiration from the people she has lost to cancer. Recent deaths spurred her to look closer at her priorities – including confronting her fears. For Libis-Moore, that meant the chilling prospect of riding a motorcycle. She admits she was petrified but she decided to confront that feeling and now owns a motor scooter. She’s titled her bra artwork “Hooters on Scooters” and the cups show pictures of a scooter. “In the last two years I’ve lost more friends to cancer, and I needed to do something about my priorities in life,” Libis-Moore said. “The bra art I created represents empowerrment.” Libis-Moore said she has heard and read of other similar bra exhibits sprouting around the nation and can understand why they resonate with people in such a strong way. “It’s a little shock value,” she said. “It makes people stand back and look at what is kept secret. But we can’t keep cancer a secret.” Toni Tidman, who has the voluntary title of social coordinator with the Capitol Corridor Riders, said the fun-loving group on the train holds parties and festive events, but things took a serious turn when one of their leaders – Robert Conheim of Auburn – died of cancer. They say that friends are like bras – “close to your heart and providing support” – so Conheim’s friends were there for him. They pulled together to raise $5,000 for a plaque and successfully lobbied to have the Auburn station named in honor of the strong passenger-rail supporter. That spirit of giving has continued on. Tidman, herself a cancer survivor since last December, said too many people she has known have died of cancer. Now she’s committed to helping in the battle against a disease the cancer society says kills 400,000 people yearly worldwide. A silent auction of the bras will help with fundraising for the CC Rider group’s Relay for Life effort Aug. 15 and 16 in Auburn. Rail riders male and female have created unique art bras and have been joined in the exhibition by Loomis artists and craftspeople. In all, 28 bras will be on display. Tidman, who recently underwent a radical mastectomy, decorated her “disco” bra with a mosaic of mirrors and a button that, when pushed, activates the Gloria Gaynor song “I Will Survive.” “We’re trying to have people smile at something that is really horrible,” Tidman said. The Journal’s Gus Thomson can be reached at gust@goldcountrymedia.com. ---------------------------- Bra Art Show and Silent Auction Where: High Hand Art Gallery and Nursery, 3750 Taylor Road, Loomis When: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday to Sunday, July 17 to 19. Also: 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday will be Ladies Night Out Event for $20, including wine tasting and hors d’oeuvres. Tickets: High Hand Gallery and Nursery, or at highhand.com.