Breast cancer charity celebrate 20 years with annual bra dressing of The River statue

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Birmingham based charity, Ladies Fighting Breast Cancer is celebrating its 20th birthday by unveiling the annual bra dressing of ‘The Floozie in the Jacuzzi’, in a bid to raise awareness during National Breast Cancer Awareness month.

Co- founder Veronica Kumeta (right ) and Shelley Duncan (left)

In England, around 46,000 people are diagnosed with breast cancer each year with around 55,000 women and 370 men.

According to research and care charity Breast Cancer Now, the most common type of cancer is breast cancer amongst women in the UK, with one women being diagnosed every 10 minutes.

The Floozie was dressed with a sparkly rainbow covered bra and a face mask by COO and co-founder Veronica Kumeta and Shelley Duncan, chair of the board of trustees for the charity.

Speaking to Birmingham Eastside, Veronica, who lost both of her best friend’s to breast cancer, talked about the meaning behind this year’s bra design:

“We had to use last year’s design, as we were unsure about making a new one due to covid restrictions. The rainbows are a homage to the NHS and our way of saying thank you. But the overall message is to remind women and men to get tested as early detection does save lives.

Now, more than ever, that message is so important, with reports of a million missed mammogram appointments across the UK this year due to the impacts of the pandemic.”

The iconic statue was originally known as ‘The River’, but has become locally known as the Floozie. It was erected in 1993 in Victoria Square outside the Council House.

The community charity started the tradition of dressing the statue with a bra in 2012 to promote breast cancer awareness every year emphasising early testing.

The mask and bra will be there for the whole of October with the support of the Birmingham City Council. It was created by the charity’s volunteers, with Shelley taking the lead on creative direction. They made alterations to the bra through sewing rainbows and hearts – paying tribute to the NHS – and adding a mask to accompany it.

The charity, which is known for its singing choir – and was selected to compete in last year’s Britain’s Got Talent – have moved their services online due to Covid-19. They hold weekly virtual coffee mornings and singing choirs with other survivors and supporters.

Journey of the bra designs from 2012 to 2019 from the charity.

The chair of the board of trustees, Shelley Duncan, also emphasised the importance of getting tested for breast cancer earlier.

“Although the bra is the fun part, it’s a just little nudge to remind women and men to check themselves in the bath or the shower and if you have any worries, phone your GP and don’t put it in the cupboard and forget about it”.

For more information on the charity’s work visit here.

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