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Tougher Than Cancer

Every year in Nassau County, more than 200 women – mothers, daughters, wives and friends – die from breast cancer. According to the New York Cancer Registry, an average of 1,265 cases of breast cancer are reported annually within Nassau County.

Farmingdale resident, Grace Verderosa’s bra creation, “Tougher Than Cancer,” is one way in which many local artists, breast cancer survivors, their friends and family members and others have used originality and creativity to transform bras into folk art.

The exhibit and auction, Creative Cups, “encourages artistic expression in celebration of the lives of those living with breast cancer and those we have lost to this terrible disease,” according to the organization’s website.

Verderosa has participated in each of the three Creative Cups events that have been held on Long Island. She and Vega-Schoch are among the 131 artists who participated in Creative Cups this year, turning ordinary bras into works of art.

 “This bra is a celebration of a lifelong friendship and how it continues to be impacted and strengthened throughout the trials and experience of one woman’s breast cancer,” said Verderosa, who teamed up with friend, Vivian Vega-Schoch for this year’s exhibition.

Their “Tougher Than Cancer” bra will be featured in “Highlights from Creative Cups,” a special exhibit, featuring 15 submissions in the Adelphi Ruth S. Harley University Center Gallery running from March 4-11.

Melville local, Christine Guardiano, who submitted her creation “Renata’s Balance and Peace Bra,” was made in memory of a dear friend, Renata, better known as Cookie, who struggled with breast cancer for over 20 years.

“Her life and friendship were a blessing to many,” Guardiano said. “It was Cookie who went with me on my first labyrinth walk, which changed my life.” She explained, the labyrinth, unlike a maze, has no wrong turns or dead-ends; it is more a meditative path.

Guardiano said her creation “can actually be used to find your own personal balance and peace; it comes with a stylus, which can be used by starting at the entrance of the white or black labyrinth, representing yin and yang,” tracing the path in and out of the labyrinth as you meditate.

“Cookie would say to use this time to find hope and peace in your life; life is too short, so live each moment to its fullest,” added Guardiano.

Local residents, Gracemarie Louis of Bethpage, and Rebecca Zimmerman of Farmingdale, each have submissions in the program. Their work, along with dozens of other bras from the Creative Cups program, will be showcased at Adelphi University on March 14 and auctioned as part of Adelphi NY Statewide Breast Cancer Hotline and Support program.

NBC’s Pat Battle, a breast cancer survivor herself who made a bra called “The Glittering Garden of Hope” with her daughter Clarke, will host the event.

Tickets are $50 ($65 for day of event walk-ins) and can be purchased on-line: www.adelphi.edu/creative-cups. Call the hotline at 800-877-8077 for information.

For more information, visit http://www. adelphi.edu/nys breastcancer/index. html.