Student designers raise breast cancer awareness, funds for charity

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Bluffton plastic surgeon Dr. Audrey A. Klenke recently had the opportunity to congratulate several area art students - and present a check for $479 to DragonBoat Beaufort ¬- at the finale of the month-long Bra Project of the Lowcountry.

Dr. Klenke's practice, Pinnacle Plastic Surgery, has hosted the annual student design competition for three years in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This year, 12 students from Hilton Head Island High School and Savannah Arts Academy created one-of-a kind bras that were exhibited throughout the area to help raise donations for DragonBoat Beaufort, a non-profit organization that provides grants to help area cancer survivors and their caregivers.

The traveling exhibit also gave the community several opportunities to see the bras and vote for a favorite.

Cat Laster's design, entitled "The Swan Song," took the top award this year. The Savannah Arts Academy student was inspired by her elementary school music teacher, the first person she knew to be diagnosed with breast cancer.

"This led me to use sheet music as my main source of materials for my design," said Laster of her design. "My music teacher inspired my love of music, and I chose to honor her memory through the Bra Project."

Second place went to another Savannah Arts Academy student, Makenzie Jeffries, for her design "The Road to Recovery: A Push in the Right Direction." Created from a road map, her bra honors her grandmother, a current breast cancer patient, who Jeffries says, "has gotten the travel bug and wants to check off as many destinations as possible."

Hilton Head Island High student Ivana Reyes took third for her "True Colors" bra, created with crayons.

"Some of the crayons are melted and symbolically represent that while change is inevitable in our lives, our colors will not only remain the same," she said. "But they can transform into something even more beautiful than they once were."

Three other Hilton Head High students were recognized as finalists in the competition - Abigail Babcock, Madison Gregory and Juliana Rosenberry.

"Many of my patients are courageous breast cancer survivors," said Dr. Klenke. "It's inspiring to see local students supporting these women with such displays of compassion and creativity."

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