They're made for women, but one Lawrence man is using them for a different reason. Chris Merrill spoke with Reporter Cory Smith about his Bras Across the Kaw campaign and why a few pranksters wont stop him from fighting breast cancer.
Lawrence — "What we wanted to do was create a visual display
that would gather attention and then bring attention to the fight
against breast cancer," says Chris Merrill, the creator of Bras
Across the Kaw.
Some people wear pink ribbons, while others run marathons. But
Chris Merrill wanted to go a different route to raise breast cancer
Four years ago, he created the Bras Across the Kaw campaign.
"It's underwear, so it grabs attention and that's what we wanted it
The radio personality and volunteers strung about 900 bras along
both sides of the bridge last week. He says the response has been
overwhelmingly positive with only a few people calling the display
inappropriate for children. But Merrill says educating kids on the
dangers of breast cancer prepares them for the future.
"As they get older and their getting their mammograms and their doing
their self exams, this is something we instill in them at a young age long
before they need to know it. We get that information out there. So I feel
like we're not just helping people this year to remind them we're helping
generations to come."
But the campaign isn't immune to the reality of being a public display.
Merrill says he's had ropes cut and bras stolen every year.
"It was pranksters who didn't understand the emotional implications of
what they were doing. I'd like to think that we don't have any breast cancer
terrorists out there that are targeting breast cancer awareness monuments."
And Merrill says it will take more than a few pranksters to keep him out of
the fight to eradicate this terrible disease.
"As long as I'm in Lawrence I'll continue to do whatever I can to continue
the display and the monument. And after I'm gone, I hope that others
pick up where l left off."
Merrill says the bras will be strung up until October 30, the night of the
Stepping Out Against Breast Cancer dance in Lawrence.