“LeAnn’s Bras for a Cause” recently donated $2,700 to help people fighting cancer at Sarah Bush Lincoln. The fund are being used to help provide care to women newly diagnosed with breast cancer in Sarah Bush Lincoln’s Women’s Imaging Center and to those receiving treatment at the SBL Regional Cancer Center. In addition, the donation included $750 of nutritional supplements to increase the quality of patients’ meals.
“LeAnn would be overwhelmed to know how many people she’s been able to help,” Dannie Braun, SBL Regional Cancer Center nuclear medicine technologist, said. “It’s amazing to see what people can do by just helping one another. It’s crazy to think that every year we give a little more and that people want to help a little more.” Braun was excited to be part of the organizational team for “LeAnn’s Bras for a Cause” to honor the memory of her good friend LeAnn Hardiek, who founded the event six years ago.
LeAnn was a vibrant mom of two young sons when she was diagnosed with triple negative BRCA1 breast cancer in 2012. The community rallied behind LeAnn with an outpouring of love and support to help her in her fight and she started the event as a way to return the kindness and give back to others in need. She was just 31 years old when she passed away in 2015.
With the help of Jack Thompson, Gabby Goat’s owner, and his team, the event was such a huge success that they made a commitment to host it annually ever since. LeAnn’s mother, Barb Starwalt, has also been instrumental in continuing her legacy along with others like Braun and friend Ali Habing.
During the event scores of extravagantly decorated bras were auctioned off at the Gabby Goat American Pub & Grill in Effingham on October 3. The fundraiser generated more than $22,000 and is helping people fighting cancer in LeAnn’s hometown of Effingham and beyond.
In 2019, the group plans to organize a golf outing in the Spring to raise additional funds and host “LeAnn’s Bras for a Cause” during breast cancer awareness month in October.
Pictured left to right are Dannie Braun, SBL breast health navigator Retha Garver, Diagnostic Imaging manager Karla Rauch, LeAnn Hardiek’s mother Barb Starwalt, event organizer Ali Habing and SBL Health Foundation event coordinator Kim Lockart.