Bras hang from Main Street bridge

Mariana Silva

Some 500 bras hanging at the bridge by Main and Water streets

tied right in with the Kent Irish Festival, where celebration of life could be seen all day


“Kent is a great place for support. The reception here has been fantastic,” said Jim

Colliver, founder of the Kent Celtic Club, which sponsored “Bras Across the Crooked

River,” yesterday.

Colliver, whose mother and girlfriend died from cancer, and Kent State student Marisa

Manocchio, a spokeswoman for the bra drive, got 38 locations at Portage, Summit and

Stark counties to collect 2,000 bras.

“This is wonderful. It almost makes me cry,” said Kathy Schumann, a community health

education major, who stopped by the bridge to donate three bras. “It’s a great way to

raise awareness,” she said.

Throughout the day people dropped off bras in support of the cause, shopped for Celtic

jewelry and bags made out of bras, and sat to watch some of the 12 performers at the


“Cancer is something that touches everybody, so I can see that getting bigger

and bigger every year,” said Colliver about the support against the disease.

The City of Kent was home to six donation spots, including The Pufferbelly,

Zephyr’s Pub, Arctic Squirrel Ice Cream Shop and McKay Bricker Framing.

“I thought we were going to collect one or two bras, that’s it,” said Bob Mayfield, owner

of McKay Bricker Framing. “Right now we have half a dozen, maybe a dozen, and they

have just collected it two days ago. We’ve been having a lot of people who come in just

to drop off bras.”

Mayfield said being a collection point didn’t attract more business or resulted to more

sales, but it certainly brought more visibility to his store located at East Main Street.

“It’s really nice to have the community support,” Manocchio said.

The bras collected will be donated to the Breast Oasis, a non-profit organization that

distributes new and gently used bras to those in need, like women living in shelters or

victims of natural disasters.

“One of the first things women ask when they get to a shelter is ‘do you have a bra’?

said Michael Parker, one of the Akron Plastic Surgeons who thought of providing bras

for women who can’t afford them.

Parker said with the help of laundries the organization gets the bras cleaned and packed with a message from the donor or “a little bit of personal touch and connection,”

as he believes it.

“When you donate something you may think: ‘Where’s that money ending up? And

where’s that actually gonna go to?’ Manocchio said.

“This time you see that the bras are being donated for the shelters and the money is

going right into the hands of the American Cancer Society,” Manocchio said. “It’s just

people know what’s happening with their money and they know it’s going to research to

stop this awful disease.”