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BRA (Breast Reconstruction Awareness) Day 2015 in San Francisco!

yay boobies

This year marked BRA Day USA’s 4th annual Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day in the United States.  For the 4th year in a row, I hosted San Francisco/Bay Area BRA Day events in my Pacific Heights office and a barre fitness studio in Marin.

Learn about the history of San Francisco’s BRA Day event, hosted by yours truly:  I am excited to share photos and details of our event with you!


BRA Day 2015 emphasized the “Team Approach” to breast cancer care from diagnosis of breast cancer through all the stages of breast reconstruction.  As in our office, it takes an entire multidisciplinary team to care for patients, particularly breast reconstruction patients!

Hosted by Board Certified Plastic Surgeons who are members of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the BRA Day campaign combines a mix of new and old media, including public service announcements for commercial TV, social media campaigns, advertising, aggressive outreach to the media, clinical research, international collaboration and grassroots events.


Our office was filled with pink ribbons from head to toe to help celebrate BRA Day 2015!


We normally don’t flaunt the pink ribbon, but who could resist for this year’s BRA Day event!?

This year’s FOURTH ANNUAL San Francisco featured an office-based awareness campaign about advanced breast reconstruction techniques offered by my practice.

Balloons with pink ribbons followed up from the BRA Day office event to Pure Barre San Rafael for our evening activity – scroll down to learn more…

Even Nurse Mari’s station was decorative for San Francisco’s BRA Day 2015!


We were honored to host the Bay Area’s 4th annual BRA Day event this year.

We featured a slideshow of before-and-after breast reconstruction images, patients who have had breast reconstruction present to share their stories, light non-alcoholic refreshments, and local businesses supporting breast cancer reconstruction awareness!


The goal of BRA Day is to increase awareness about breast reconstruction options for women facing cancer or who choose risk-reduction prophylactic mastectomy to avoid getting cancer.

I discussed the various options available to women facing breast cancer, or those who choose to undergo prophylactic mastectomy as “risk reduction” surgery – i.e. BRCA gene positive women (like Angelina Jolie!).

Nipple-sparing mastectomy, immediate single-stage implant reconstruction, and advanced Microsurgical techniques such as the DIEP/SIEA flap and TUG flap were presented.  For women who only require a lumpectomy with radiation, local tissue rearrangement (breast reconstruction by a lift or reduction) is also an option!


Ready for BRA Day 2015 in my office!


MEN can get breast cancer too! A unique husband and wife story of breast cancer – each of them is breast cancer survivor!

Each of our breast reconstruction patients was given a tiara and fun pink beads to help celebrate BRA Day 2015.


The unofficial title of our BRA Day event was “YAY! Boobies!” I gave patients and their families a YAY! Boobies! fridge magnet as a gift as well.


Pink bubbles helped warm up the BRA Day 2015 festivities at the noon hour reception for breast reconstruction patients!


Facing breast cancer and recovering from breast reconstruction surgery truly is a family affair! Our patients’ spouses are our partners in care and are like family to us too!


Introducing the concept of BRA Day 2015 to our guests at the noon reception. Note the pink bra hanging on display – click this photo for a Twitter photo of the artist who created it!


The BRA Day event is not a fundraiser, but an awareness campaign to further the public’s understanding of options for women who are seeking breast reconstruction after cancer treatment.

During the day, I saw patients for breast reconstruction and cosmetic procedure consultations, many follow-ups, Nurse Mari and I educated our patients preoperatively before their surgery, and I had repeat ‘discuss surgery’ visits with other patients who wanted to learn more about their procedure of interest with me.

Many of our BRA Day guests were breast reconstruction patients already, and they enjoyed learning from one another’s experience while visiting on our comfy couches in the waiting room.  We served bubbles from Jam Cellars – very cutely titled ‘Toast’, and ‘Butter’ Chardonnay to our guests at our reception!  


Thank you to one of our patients for very generously donating Butter Chardonnay and Toast bubbles for our BRA Day event!


Everyone loves Nurse Mari – she is the educator who helps prepare our patients for surgery at their preoperative visit. She keeps in touch with our patients in the long term too!


We love our patients and get to know them “head to toe, inside and out”, even if we are caring for only one particular part of their body!

We hosted a noon-time reception where I thanked everyone for coming, told them about the Breast Cancer Bathing Beauties project (to be published in advance of BRA Day 2016!) and invited some of our guests to talk about their ongoing projects that increase awareness about breast cancer reconstruction.


Keira Kotler, San Francisco based visual artist and marketing professional who was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 40 describes her new company, Everviolet to BRA Day 2015 guests.

One of our guests, Keira Kotler, described to the group her new company Everviolet, an upcoming intimate apparel and loungewear collection!  contact logo-evervioletDIEP flap reconstruction patients presented me with an incredible photograph taken of her in body paint following her breast reconstruction.  Her website, goes into more detail about this exciting and meaningful project.  I encourage you to visit it!


What a beautiful image! Lydia had her DIEP flap reconstruction body painted and posed for artistic images to help tell her story.


Lydia generously presented me and the office with a large size of one of my favorite images of her!


We will display Lydia’s breast reconstruction work of art proudly in our office! Thank you, Lydia!

Lydia described a 3-D printing company she is partnering with to improve the results of nipple and areola reconstruction following mastectomy when the nipple cannot be saved.  It is very exciting to think what better options we will be able to offer women in just a few more years!

We love our patients! Regular follow ups benefited from the fun BRA Day event!


Husband & wife breast cancer survivors!

Although not a breast reconstruction patient, visitors to Horton SPA were treated with the same tiaras & fun bonuses as our breast cancer patients on BRA Day 2015!


Lydia brought her daughter and a friend to learn more about breast reconstruction options and to support her project.


What a fun day we had in the office! Everyone enjoyed BRA Day 2015 to the fullest this year!


Group photo from Dr. Karen Horton’s San Francisco BRA Day 2015 event in her Pacific Heights office.


“YAY! Boobies!”

I also participated in a LIVE Twitter party for Living Beyond Breast Cancer at the end of BRA Day 2015.  Together with a few other Physicians who care for breast cancer patients and perform breast reconstruction, I answered live questions about breast reconstruction involving implants, the body’s own tissue and if chemotherapy or radiation is present before or after reconstruction.


Logging on to Twitter in my office at the end of BRA Day 2015 to participate in a live Twitter party for Living Beyond Breast Cancer!


The @LivingBeyondBC Twitter feed uses the hashtag #LBBCchat for the live chat, which invited patients and the public to ask questions of medical professionals, including me!

What happened at the end of BRA Day in San Francisco?  Well… we drove up to San Rafael in Marin County, near my home!


Pure Barre San Rafael studio owner Shannon Piro and Dr. Karen Horton, getting ready to lift-tone-burn for a special BRA Day 2015 barre class!

Pure Barre San Rafael, a fitness studio owned by my good friend Shannon Piro, whose mother is a breast cancer survivor, kindly hosted a private barre fitness class to end BRA DAy 2015!


I am a Pure Barre exercise fanatic and true believer myself! “This is my happy hour” is a true statement (although classes are 55 minutes)! Even on my birthday! Click this image to link to a birthday tweet…


As a gift to Pure Barre San Rafael BRA Day 2015 class participants, each was invited to choose a workout top to wear and to keep!


Shannon explained the concept of the “tuck” and a neutral spine before our BRA Day 2015 Pure Barre class. She earned a tiara herself!


Although I do barre classes all the time, our BRA Day 2015 class was CHALLENGING!!!


Pure Barre classes truly do lift-tone-burn your arms, legs, abs and ‘seat’ (derriere)!


Our BRA Day 2015 Pure Barre class was a fun 55 minute workout for breast reconstruction patients to join me and some of my office staff in a group workout!


BRA Day 2015 Pure Barre San Rafael class – balls are added to increase resistance during floor exercises.


“Embrace the shake” is a motto of Pure Barre – holding isometric muscle exercises for minutes at a time truly does make your muscles shake! What a way to “shake up” BRA Day 2015!


Pure Barre classes make use of the ballet bar, although no experience in ballet is necessary. A breast reconstruction patient (who is also a personal trainer!) participates in BRA Day 2015 at the barre. Even SHE found it extremely challenging!


The most fun part of our BRA Day 2015 Pure Barre class? The after-party! Mary Pasache & Dr. Karen Horton celebrating the day with pink beads & pink champagne!


I WAS a bartender in college, and I put those skills to use to continue hosting our guests at Pure Barre San Rafael for our final BRA Day celebration! We made it through the class!


Pink champagne, pink beads, pink garments & pink cheeks! What a fun celebration! BRA Day 2015


Our participants were a combination of prophylactic mastectomy and reconstruction for BRCA gene positive status, breast implant reconstruction & DIEP or TUG flap Microsurgical breast reconstruction after breast cancer at BRA Day 2015.


I am usually most comfortable behind the bar, and this held true for behind the Pure BARRE front desk, pouring bubbles to our BRA Day 2015 guests!


With a friend, a colleague and a patient on BRA Day 2015 at Pure Barre San Rafael.


“And though she be but little, SHE IS FIERCE!” BRA Day 2015 patient power!


With a breast reconstruction patient, a San Rafael neighbor & hopefully a new Pure Barre San Rafael convert! She rocked the class!


BRA Day 2015 is an incredible national awareness day about breast reconstruction for women, and our Pure Barre private class was such a memorable way to end our day of celebration!


Thanks to all Pure Barre BRA Day 2015 class participants, and especially to studio owner Shannon Piro, for opening her studio to us for our celebration!

Thank you to everyone who made BRA Day 2015 such a huge success and a memorable morning, afternoon and evening!  Stay tuned for details of our 2016 event, including the unveiling of the Breast Cancer Bathing Beauties project…

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YAY!  Boobies! 2015

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Dr. Karen M. Horton, M.D. - Plastic Surgery, Physicians & Surgeons - Medical-M.D., San Francisco, CA