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How donating unwanted bras raises money for breast cancer research

Not only does a new scheme help fund vital research it helps women in Africa and is good for the planet, says Susana Lorena 

Thursday 28 March 2019 22:29 GMT

Each year Maison SL asks women to do a spring clean and clear out their drawers to donate their unwanted bras in aid of the charity, Against Breast Cancer.

Against Breast Cancer funds research into secondary breast cancer for earlier diagnosis, better treatment and to reduce risk of secondary spread of the disease. Founded by Dr Anthony Leathem, a pathologist, and his wife Patricia, a breast cancer theatre nurse, its patrons include Simon Cowell, whose mother was Honorary President from 2009 to 2015, and Sky Sports presenter and British Olympic gymnast Suzanne Dando.

The ultimate Holy Grail for Against Breast Cancer is to discover a vaccine to prevent the disease.

Donated bras help raise money for the charity and also do good in other ways. Often donated bras are scarcely worn - sometimes even brand new - and these, together with ones that are still in good condition are put to good use by sending them to countries in Africa, such as Togo, Ghana and Kenya, where bras can be expensive to produce locally.

To help support small businesses, the bras are bought by local traders and they in turn sell them at affordable prices locally. It is a great way of helping the local economy and employment. It is also good for the health, status and safety of women in these countries, where bras can otherwise be expensive.

Bras which are beyond redemption are dismantled and properly recycled rather than being thrown away, where they would end up in landfill with other unwanted clothes. The environmental problem posed by discarded clothing is enormous. It is now the fastest growing category of waste, polluting the planet in the process. In the UK alone some 300,000 tonnes of clothing end up in landfill each year

Bra recycling donates £700 for every tonne of bras collected to fund Against Breast Cancer’s research.

Bernie Jones, Chief Executive of Against Breast Cancer, said: “Bra recycling is an invaluable fundraising stream for our charity. Not everyone is in the position to donate money but lots of women have unloved bras they can donate, which helps us raise those vital funds. We hope this amnesty is a huge success and raises awareness of our research into secondary spread breast cancer.”

The more bras we collect, the more Against Breast Cancer will benefit so we are calling on women to sort through their drawers and turn in their unwanted bras safely and anonymously as part of the Bra Amnesty.

Susana Lorena is the owner of Maison SL. Bras can be brought to Maison SL (, at 53 Ledbury Road, Notting Hill, West London, W11 2AA or sent by post to Recyling Scheme, Against Breast Cancer, Leathem House, 13 Napier Court, Barton Lane, Abingdon, OXON, OX14 3YT

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