October kicks off Breast Cancer Awareness month and with it comes fundraisers for the cause. Brakes for Breast, now in its fifth year, is one of those fundraisers.
“The beauty of getting involved is that together we truly can make a difference. The side story to Brakes for Breasts is that independent repair shops across the country have joined hands to puts the brakes on breast cancer,” said Leigh Anne Best, a co-founder of the Brakes for Breast fundraiser.
As part of Brakes for Breasts, 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 just pay 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.
The fundraiser works because a repair or tire shop receives free brake pads or shoes from their vendor and in turn the store purchases all other parts for that job from that vendor in October. The store can then offer free brake pads or shoes to their clients.
The Brakes for Breasts fundraiser started in 2011 with just five independent repair shops in Northeast Ohio raising $10,000. In 2014, 136 shops raised $115,236.53.
This year 169 auto repair shops and tires dealers from 33 different states have signed up to participate.
While October is just around the corner, it’s not too late for tire dealers to get on board with the fundraiser.
“The nice thing is that even if you get on board with little time left, it really helps to set you up for a fantastic fundraiser the following year. The first year there is always a small learning curve, and like anything, we get better and better the more we repeat something,” Best said.
Dealers can sign up to participate at www.brakesforbreasts.com. Tire Pros dealers have their own sign up on the site.
Brakes for Breasts is truly a grassroots fundraiser, with Best and co-founder Laura Frank managing the program with volunteer help. If funds are needed to manage the website, Best and Frank solicit help from a willing shop owner, Best said.
Shops that participate in Brakes for Breasts 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.