At the age of 49, my mother was diagnosed with stage-three breast cancer. She would succumb to stage four breast cancer just five years later, at the age of 54. But, before she would pass away, she would teach me a precious lesson.
During her recovery time, my mother took on an array of hobbies, and one of them was leading the bi-weekly summer garage sales in the subdivision. Mom would ask everyone in the family to participate by decluttering their homes and dropping off the items to sell throughout the week. My brothers and I were no exception. We were expected to do the same, so much so that mom would encourage us to look for items we no longer used. I remember one Saturday morning, she was doing her rounds and came into my room with a big smile and asked if I had any items to contribute to the garage sale that day. Of course, I said no, but she insisted on going through my drawers and inquired about my bras. I was baffled and quickly said, "Eeww! Mom, who will buy my bras?" Without missing a beat, she replied, "some women can't afford bras, and if we don't sell them, we can donate the bras you no longer wear." Mom placed the bras at the end of the driveway in a box labeled free. Shortly after setting the box down, a man would drive to the home, pick up the box, and drive away.
The man would return to our home two weeks later for yet another garage sale. He would strike up a conversation with mom and share how grateful his sister in Indonesia was for the box of free items (my bras).
Fast-forward to late 2016, and by now, my mom is no longer with us. My family and I were on a short-term relocation assignment for my husband's work in McAllen, Texas. So, I spent most of my days in the hotel room, and while I was flipping channels, I came across a Huffington Post news brief about a woman in Wheaton Marylin --who was collecting bras for her community. And at that very moment in tears, I vividly recalled the moment my mom burst into my room and shared this precious life lesson; women across different communities soldom have access to a new bra.
I knew at that very moment that I wanted to channel the pain of losing my mom by sharing the precious lesson she had taught me. By early spring of 2017, I had gathered six phenomenal women from all walks of life to establish what is now known as CUPS Bra Drive - A Commitment to Uplift with Purpose and Service.
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Founder & President
Carolina Rosales Nolen
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Sonja Beallis & JoAnne Salazar
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