Total Bra Count: 2942

Today, I want to speak to you for a moment.  Not as a radio personality, not as the guy you hear on the radio every day, and not even as the guy who created “Bras Across the Bluegrass”.  Today, I want to speak to you straight up as a person, a human being, a regular citizen of this great city.

Friday at noon, we finished our week-long “Bras Across the Bluegrass” campaign, collecting new and gently used bras in support of breast cancer awareness.  You’ve by now, be it with your own eyes or on one of our wonderful local news stations in Louisville, seen the giant string of bras in front of Oxmoor Mall all week.  Of course, our friends over at Daymar College are also donating $1 for every bra that you brought out to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

I’ll be honest, I was not prepared for the unbelievable response.  We went into this week thinking that we would get 800 bras…MAYBE 1,000-1,200 if we were lucky.  Louisville….I gotta say…you blow me away.  While the official tally is still being counted, we know that we blew past 2,500 bras donated this week.  That’s $2500+ for breast cancer research.  Holy cow.  I want you to realize just how many that is.  You know that big string of bras? It hangs about 300-350 bras.  And it’s about 1/6 of a mile long. At that point, we ran out of equipment and could no longer hang bras. If we had been able to, the string would have stretched nearly a mile and a half down Shelbyville Road.

I am overwhelmed and humbled by the opportunity to have been part of something that transcends what I do for a living every day.  Radio is a great job. We have a lot of fun, and I’ve had experiences in my 10 years in radio that not a lot of people can say they’ve had.  But this…what I’ve seen this week…by far outweighs anything I’ve ever experienced.  It’s not just the cool visual that we were able to put together.  And it’s not just the money we’ve raised.  It’s the people we’ve met…the stories we’ve heard…the reasons that people came out to support. 

The past five days have been physically and emotionally taxing on myself and all of us here at Radio Now and Gen X Radio. I’ve talked to a woman who was diagnosed with breast cancer while pregnant, and had to choose whether or not to continue her pregnancy with the knowledge that her child would grow up without a mother.  We’ve met a man who just lost his wife months ago to breast cancer and finally willed himself to part with her bras, a piece of what little he has left of her.  A woman who lost her 22-year old daughter. A 4-year old girl who, for her 4th birthday wanted to come hang a bra on our line, and another little girl, Caroline, who hung one in honor of her grandmother, a breast cancer survivor.  And the list goes on and on.  We’ve had the pleasure of meeting countless survivors, all with their own inspirational story, women who willed themselves to fight this disease and win.  And, on the other hand, we've met countless others who have lost loved ones to this terrible disease.  Not to mention the hundreds and hundreds of you who have been fortunate enough to not see breast cancer firsthand, but who helped the cause because they believe in what we’re doing.  I’ve been moved to tears more times than I would like to admit in such a short period of time, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

A bit of a personal note: I’ve lost both my mother and my 10-year old nephew to various types of cancer, but have been blessed enough to not see breast cancer take one of my own family members or close personal friends.  But, after this week, I've seen the effect that it can have on an individual, a family, and a community. I feel that I can truly count all of you as my family and friends, and it has been my honor to share with you the experiences that you’ve had.

This week started as a fundraiser, a great cause indeed, but also certainly a good marketing opportunity for the radio station and a chance to see all of you.  It has ended as a movement.  We’ll be posting more pictures soon, but I'd like you take a look at the few below.  You may just see a lot of bras hanging from a string.  But when I look at them, I can’t help but to see the courage that is attached to them, and I can’t help but to beam with pride.

All week, I’ve heard people personally tell me “thank you for what you’re doing”.  Trust me when I say that what we're doing is nothing.  What YOU'RE doing is everything. Without you, we did nothing. So all I can do is smile, and say no, Louisville…thank YOU for making our jobs mean just a little bit more today than they did at this time last week.

On behalf of the entire staff of 98.9 Radio Now and 100.5 Gen X Radio, and of course our charitable partner Daymar College….thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, for making a difference.

With love, admiration, and respect,

Jonathan Shuford
Program Director
98.9 Radio Now/100.5 Gen X Radio

Click to see more pictures!

By the way, we'd love to your hear your thoughts on the event.  First time EVER for all of us, and we want to know what we did well, and what you think we can focus on in 2013.  Leave your feedback in the comments section below!