SARASOTA, FL – When Mike Calamaras and Dan Benton were invited to a breast cancer fundraiser in July 2012, they were more than happy to attend.
When they arrived there, they realized they were the only males in attendance.
As time passed, they noticed that most breast cancer events were put on by women, for women and attended by mostly women.
But the truth is that breast cancer affects both woman and men.
So Calamaras and Benton put their heads together and started brainstorming ways to get men more involved.
They formed a small committee, and started planning fundraisers to raise money for breast cancer.
An organization called Bros 4 Bras, a men’s crusade for breast cancer fundraising.
“Dan and I came up with the name through some brainstorming, it had to be catchy and relevant,” says Calamaras. ““Since our goal is to get more males involved, we chose “Bros” and added “4 Bras” to relate it to breast cancer.””
To have two core fundraisers a year and attend three other events as a beneficiary.
Today, two years later, Bros 4 Bras has raised over 30,000 dollars and has hosted or attended 10 events as a beneficiary.
To appeal to younger generations, they have hosted fundraisers at several bars such as World of Beer and Polo Grill and Bar.
“It’s a great feeling to be able to raise funds for a great cause, all while having fun,” says Calamaras.
This past year, Calamaras and Benton developed Bros 4 Cause, B4C, the parent group to Bros 4 Bras.
B4C raises funds for more than just breast cancer.
“B4C focuses on raising funds for charities that are close to our hearts,” says Benton. “We have a fund at the Community Foundation of Sarasota called Bros 4 Cause Fund, where all our funds are held and then distributed from to the charities.”
The name originated from Bros 4 Bras but incorporated the organization’s desire to raise funds for many other causes besides breast cancer.
Anyone who wishes to join Bros 4 Bras or Bros 4 Cause is welcome to, however the organization consists of a core group of eight individuals who also make up the board.
“As this organization is not its own 501c3, but utilizes the Community Foundation for our compliance, our board is made up of our members,” says Calamaras.
They meet accordingly, depending on the events that they have planned; anywhere from weekly, monthly, or quarterly with their members and their partners.
In the past, Bros 4 Bras and Bros 4 Cause has partnered with Brides Against Breast Cancer & Center for Building Hope.
They have also partnered with MD Anderson Cancer Center, Little Owl Charities, and the American Cancer Society.
Meg Hughes, Senior National Events Coordinator at Brides Against Breast Cancer, has enjoyed working with Bros 4 Bras.
“Bros 4 Bras has continuously supported Brides Against Breast Cancer’s National Charity,” says Hughes. “They have helped us raise funds for free support programs for cancer patients and their families. Nowadays, we need all the help we can get in this fight against breast cancer and I look forward to working with them again.”
Despite all their success, the organization is still new and growing.
“The biggest obstacle we have had is branding,” says Calamaras. “As a new group to the area we are not as well known. However, the more events we host and the more we partner with other well-known organizations, the more recognition we get. I can’t wait to see how big of an organization we become.”