201609-brad-011By Jody Kerzman

It seems everyone has been touched by breast cancer, whether you’ve fought it yourself, or watched a friend, neighbor, co-worker, or family member battle the disease. Perhaps no one knows this better than Brad Erickson, manager of Bismarck’s Borrowed Bucks Roadhouse.

“My wife, Cammy, had breast cancer 20 years ago,” remembers Brad. “She found a little lump, so she went to the doctor. The doctor told her to wait three months and come back. So she did. And when she went back three months later, they did a biopsy. It came back positive.

“She was only 36-years-old and we had three young kids and I remember being so scared,” says Brad. “She found it early though, she was only a stage one or two and she beat it. It was a scary time, but we had a happy ending.”

Cammy did 36 cancer treatments in 18 days and has been cancer free since. Now, Brad is reliving the breast cancer scare. This time, it’s his mom fighting the disease.

Doris Erickson was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer in January. Brad has been with her during her treatments, and that’s given him a renewed sense of purpose for his annual event, “Bucks for Bras.”

Jody Kezman visited with Brad about the event, which he says is his way of giving back

Give us a little history about Bucks for Bras.

This is the sixth year we’ve held Bucks for Bras. We started in 2010, and it’s grown like crazy since then. I got the idea from Fargo and from my own life. My wife had breast cancer 20 years ago. I couldn’t do anything to show my support and to raise money for those fighting this awful disease then, but I can now. This event has grown tremendously since 2010. That first year we raised $4,300. In 2015, we raised more than $45,000.

How does “Bucks for Bras” raise that money?

It’s a benefit auction that highlights the talents of area artists through the glamorization of the brassiere. The bras are donated and adorned with materials such as gemstones, feathers, fur, and tinker toys, just to name a few. “Bucks for Bras” attendees have the opportunity to bid on these one-of-a-kind wearable pieces, as well as other non-wearable works of art. We also have a silent auction, vendors, a 50-50 raffle, and a best bra contest where you pay $1 for each vote. One year my mom and my sister in law made a quilt that ended up selling for $805 in the silent auction. People are so supportive of this cause.

Who do you help?

All the money we raise from Bucks for Bras stays local and helps provide financial support for those fighting breast cancer in the Bismarck/Mandan area. Last year “Bucks for Bras” donated more than $45,185 to the American Cancer Society and the Bismarck Cancer Center Foundation to support those in our area fighting cancer. In the past four years, Bucks for Bras has donated $120,495 to these two organizations. Our goal this year is $50,000.

How can people help?

There are a few ways people can help with this event.

  • First, we always need people to serve on the committee. The committee puts in a lot of hours, and it’s all volunteer.
  • Donate your old bras! We hang a bra garland on the outside of the building each year, from late September until the event in October. Last year we had 1,192 bras in our bra garland. We have a contest each year to guess how many bras are in our bra garland.
  • Create an artistic wearable bra for auction.
  • Donate an item or service for the silent auction.
  • Obviously you can help by attending the event on October 19. Tickets are available for $15 in advance at Borrowed Bucks, the Bismarck Cancer Center, and the American Cancer Society. You can also purchase tickets at the door for $20.

Click here to learn more about Bucks for Bras. You can also like them on Facebook.

Click here for more pictures of Brad, taken by Photo by Jacy.