CeleBRAtory bra burning
Okiah and Sal Makely put together a very successful fundraiser that raised $14,000 for Stony Brook Cancer Center.


CeleBRAtory bra burning


BAYPORT—Thirteen-year-old Okiah Makely, an eighth-grader at James Wilson Young Middle School in Bayport, has a big heart. After hearing of her grandmother “Nana’s” breast cancer diagnoses last year, she knew she wanted to do something.

Her Nana, Gale, was immediately given a lumpectomy and eight weeks of radiation. Then, during a family celebration where words of inspiration were thrown into a fire pit, and eventually, her grandmother’s uncomfortable and ugly post-op bra, Okiah had an idea – a bra-burning fundraiser in the name of beating all cancer.

“She threw her ugly post-op bra in the fire pit, symbolizing being cured,” said Okiah, noting that she wanted others to feel the same support her Nana had. 

Sal Makely, her mother, said Okiah came up with the idea to raise money for a bra burning. She then reached out to the Stony Brook Cancer Center to see if they would accept donations. Terri Quinn, the director of special events at the cancer center, agreed and a fundraiser was born.

Okiah’s CeleBRAtory Bra Burning was held on Oct. 7 from 3:30-7:30 p.m. at the Bayport Firehouse located on Snedecor Avenue. Tickets to the event included dinner, bra burning, Chinese auction and a 50/50 raffle. All the proceeds – which turned out to be $14,000 – went directly to the Stony Brook Cancer Center. 

“This isn’t just about breast cancer. Cancer affects everyone; everyone knows someone affected by it, whether it is themselves, a family member, or a friend,” said Sal Makely. “We need to come together to beat all cancer.”