Fashion meets compassion for charity bra contest

With some hot glue, fabric flowers and even sand, nearly two dozen girls from the local National Charity League Willow Rose Chapter used their passion for fashion for a good cause.

The service group’s members entered three bras in a creative bra decorating contest for BRA Day 2017. The sixth annual Cancer CAREpoint benefit was held Thursday at Santana Row, presided by celebrity judges including Olympics soccer champion Brandi Chastain and hosted by local plastic surgeon Dr. Kamakshi Zeidler.

“I thought it was a really cool way to help everyone who’s been affected by this,” said Maiya Patel, a member of the National Charity League Willow Rose chapter for four years.

Silicon Valley women have lent their artistic talents to the bra contest for several years. Last year’s entries included an ivy-covered bra in a contest won by a sequined red, blue and gold Wonder Woman bra.

More than 20 girls from the chapter worked on the bras this year in two different groups; each bra was given a theme, then embellished accordingly.

“When we were discussing what theme we were going to do, all our thoughts turned to Ariel and her seashell bra,” Patel said.

The bra definitely favored fashion over function–Patel’s group adorned it with sewn-on seashells and even added real beach sand to meet the “Under the Sea” theme.

“My friend, she thought it’d be a cool idea to use (sand) and make it seem more real, to have that realistic feeling,” Patel said.

The creations from Mairead Polverino’s group were no different; the Presentation High School student and her friends incorporated some innovative features such as fabric sunflowers for their “Here Comes the Sunflowers” and “Bee Bright” bras.

“(National Charity League), their whole motto is ‘Be the Change,’ so what better way to portray that than to use bees and sunflowers,” Polverino said. “Sunflowers are the change that we will be creating in helping our world be a better place.”

The groups worked separately the entire time, including weekends, but the process was pretty much the same for both, according to Polverino and Patel. After brainstorming for a while and choosing a theme, each group spent about an hour taking turns gluing and sewing different items on the bras.

A Philanthropy Fair at Willow Glen High School last month where the group assembled hygiene kits, decorated gift collection boxes and made gifts for both needy children and shelter animals is among the chapter’s latest projects. Although the girls worked with just each other for the bra contest, the 170-member group is also made up of local mothers from the Rose Garden and Willow Glen neighborhoods who have volunteered thousands of hours in their community.

“I became so interested that mothers and daughters were coming together to do service,” chapter president and founding member Angel Badagliacco said about first hearing of National Charity League while volunteering at a retirement home.

“I was blown away that they were doing it with their moms,” she said. “My hope was that when my daughter was born or I had girls that I might be able to join this organization.”

Since forming the chapter five years ago, Badagliacco and her daughter have learned more about each other by helping others.

“It’s about your daughter seeing a side of you she wouldn’t otherwise see,” Badagliacco added.

A new member information meeting where women can learn more about joining the National Charity League Willow Rose Chapter will take place Nov. 2 at the Cambrian Branch Library, 1780 Hillsdale Ave. To learn more, contact VP of membership Tammy Bieter at

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