One in eight women are at risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer, while 1 in 1,000 men are at risk to develop the disease. Several shops are hoping to put a STOP to this type of cancer with an annual fundraiser.
Brakes for Breasts is hosted each October by several independent repair facilities (IRFs) nationwide. The fundraiser not only supports breast cancer research directly (by supporting vaccine research), it also helps bring customers through a repair facility’s doors.
As part of the Brakes for Breasts initiative, auto shops across the U.S. offer free brake pads to their customers during the month of October. For each brake service performed at one of those shops, customers will receive their brake pads for free and pay only for the labor and other parts. In return, the shop will donate 10% of that brake service to The Cleveland Clinic Breast Cancer Vaccine Research Fund.
Brakes for Breasts was started in 2011 by Leigh Anne Best, of Mighty Auto Pro in Medina, OH, and Laura Frank, of Auto Repair Technology in Brook Park, OH.
“We were having dinner one night and Laura always says ‘Being a business owner you have visibility and with visibility you have responsibility.’ And, we were talking about that, and opportunities to help,” Best shared. “We’ve done plenty of local things before, but we were talking about what we could do to help the world, as opposed to just our local neighborhood. And Brakes for Breasts was born.”
While there are many different breast cancer charities, the pair chose to donate to Dr. Vincent Tuohy’s breast cancer vaccine research because they wanted 100% of the funds raised to go directly to research. Dr. Tuohy’s research focuses on triple negative breast cancer, but it may also have applications in preventing prostate and ovarian cancer. The vaccine is currently going through FDA approval for clinical trials.
Brakes for Breasts has grown organically since its start, with shops reaching out to each other to get involved. The program began in 2011 with just five independent auto repair shops in Northeast Ohio. In 2017, 114 shops in 34 states participated. To date, more than $600,000 has been raised by repair shops.
The Brakes for Breasts fundraiser works because the IRF receives free brake pads from their vendor and, in turn, the store is able to offer free brake pads to their clients.
Fundraiser co-founder Leigh Anne Best describes the fundraiser as a win-win for everyone involved. The customer wins because they get free brake pads, the shops win because they’re doing a great thing for the community and customers are coming in the door, and vendors win because shops are sending them more business that month.
Currently, there is no specific participating vendor list, but the website has tools for shops to help get their vendors on board. The Brakes for Breasts Q&A also encourages interested shops to reach out to other Brakes for Breast participants to see which vendors they use.
Additionally, shops that participate in Brakes for Breasts have access to a member-only site, where they receive marketing materials, including premade press releases to use in their market to promote the fundraiser. In addition, all donations are tax deductible and shops receive a verification letter for their donation directly from the Cleveland Clinic.
For more information, visit brakesforbreasts.com.
What causes do you support? Do you participate in any programs that are a win for you and a win for the consumer? Email me and share your story.