Breast cancer has claimed the lives of millions of innocent people. It is estimated that 1 in 8 people will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their lives. The good news is that death rates have declined drastically over the years, due to the fundraising efforts made by incredible charities, and the generosity of millions of supporters.
Sherri Mercurio, Broker/Owner of The Mercurio Group Real Estate, had a mission to simply make a difference. She wanted to create a Gala event to not only honor the amazing Survivors and Thrivers, but to fundraise in order to help make a difference even after the night was over. Bra’s for a Cause was the result.
We had the pleasure of speaking with Sherri to learn more about this annual fundraising event:
Q: How did Bra’s For A Cause start?
A: At the time I was the local President of the Women’s Council of Realtors, and thought it was a great opportunity to host a fundraiser to give back to our local community. My colleague Kerri Gemma, who is also a Realtor, teamed up with me and we took off running with this event. From the very start, I had a goal to raise at least $10,000 per year. We started off a little shaky but still raised $8,000 our first year. From there, it just got better. Going from $17,000 to $26,000 to $34,000 and in just 7 years, I can proudly say that the 2019 Bra’s for a Cause event raised $170,000 in just one night!
Q: What is the Bra’s for a Cause event about?
A: For the past 7 years, I have partnered up with local Real Estate professionals, Attorneys and Mortgage Professionals and business owners that strut their stuff down a runway at Twin River Casino to model a Bra that the audience bids on. The best part? The models that we choose are each escorted down the runway by 2 breast cancer survivors to cheer them on and get the crowd energized. Every year has a different theme, which determines how the bras are designed. There are tons of silent auction items to bid on that night as well as an abundance of appetizers and a full dinner It is a night full of great company, many laughs and forever memories.
Q: What efforts go into hosting this event every year?
A: I spend the entire year planning this event, which takes place in November. When we first started it was a challenge. I made all of the centerpieces and transported them to the venue. I found the talent, rehearsed with them, and put the entire show together. I begged business partners to make me stage props that we continue to use yearly. There are so many silent auction baskets that needed to be put together, taken to the venue and organized. You name it we did it. It is truly a full time job hosting an event this large. And with that being said, I’m so happy to say that Gloria Gemma has taken this event under their wings and offered all of their assistance. There is no doubt in my mind that this event will raise over $250,000 in the next few years. My original 10 year plan was to raise $100,000 and with the help of the amazing team at Gloria Gemma, we surpassed that and I am more then confident we can reach $250,000.
Q: Why do you do it?
A: I do it because I can. I do it because I’m healthy and my close friends need these programs that Gloria Gemma organizes. Without funding these local programs can not last. When you get involved with an organization such as this, you will quickly see that you are not just part of an organization, you are a part of a family. Seeing women and men my age go through the terrible fight of breast cancer, or any kind of cancer, is gut-wrenching. And so I strive every year to do better. It is so incredible to see this event in person. We have cancer survivors on the stage with their friends that are currently stage 4 thrivers. We have many women that were a part of the show in the past that are watching from above cheering us on. The bond these women have is the most amazing thing one could experience. If this event can get these women and men out of the house for a fun night out to forget about the world for a day, then sign me up for another year! It means the world to them and gives them hope. When I see the smile on their faces strutting the runway, I know I did my job.
Q: What does all the money you have raised go towards?
A: The #1 reason why I do so much for The Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Foundation is because I know that for every dollar donated, 90 cents of that goes directly back into the local programs. These programs include Gloria’s Angels Meal program which provides a healthy meal delivery service to those who can not leave their home. They offer comfort care bags to newly diagnosed patients, oncology massage for patients after treatment, support groups, arts and crafts, education, and so much more.
Q: Who has been apart of making this event possible?
A: This event would not exist without the many sponsors, emcees, attendees, volunteers and the hundreds who have helped out tremendously throughout the years. My partner in crime Kerri Gemma is a angel. This gal is the master of donations, sponsorship’s, handling all of the silent auction items, live bidding the night of the event and way too much for one paragraph. Lucy, Ethel and Bryan from GG rock my world. Life without them would be boring. The models are a pure joy to watch strut down the runway every year! I could not thank the entire Gloria Gemma family enough for taking our event under their wing. It takes a village. I’m so excited for things to come! 2020 planning is underway.
If you are interested in supporting this amazing cause, or interested in being a sponsor, contact Sherri Mercurio today at 401-699-6666 to see how you can be apart of this event! Together we can fight the fight and find a cure!