Jennifer Jolicoeur, President and Founder of Athena’s Home Novelties, spent a decade attempting to achieve what she was told would be an impossible feat: setting the record for the longest bra chain to raise awareness and support the fight against breast cancer.
It was 10 years ago that Jennifer first conceived the idea to start this record-breaking initiative.
After an employee of Jennifer’s was diagnosed with breast cancer, Jennifer felt passionate about doing something to support the cause.
At the time there were several other breast cancer awareness and fundraising initiatives, but Jennifer still felt there was something more that could be done.
“There must be something magical and pure we could do,” Jennifer said.
While on her annual trip with friends to Orlando, Jennifer’s friend began to experience discomfort from the bra she was wearing; the underwire was poking into her skin.
Instead of trying to salvage the damaged bra, her friend decided to remove it altogether and after a moment, the others in the group followed suit, when the thought occurred to Jennifer – “what if we hooked all the bras together?” – and thus the record idea was born.
Jennifer and her team then set out on a mission to collect bras that were done being used.
While the group believed they would collect the number of bras required to surpass the current record at the time – 166,625 bras – in just 5 months, it proved to be more difficult than they had thought.
That didn’t stop them, however, and they continued to collect over the course of 10 years until finally they collected over 200,000 bras, surpassing their goal by an enormous amount.
They were now ready to attempt the official GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title.
The attempt began on Friday, 4 October 2019 - during Breast Cancer Awareness month - at the River's Edge Sports Complex in Woonsocket, Rhode Island where volunteers from the community, politely referred to as “Hookers”, came together on the field to begin hooking the bras together.
Only six people showed up on the first day, but that didn’t stop Jennifer and her team from going for it anyway.
This wouldn’t be the only challenge they would have to overcome in the weeks following.
The tent, which had been set up that morning, collapsed due to the heavy winds of the impending New-England North Easter storm.
By the end of the second day, even with an increase in the number of “hookers” from the day prior, they had only linked 15,000 bras in the chain.
Some suggested to Jennifer that she abandon the attempt as there would be a serious storm coming and it would be an impossible task to achieve the record within the planned timeframe.
But Jennifer still didn’t stop.
Instead, she shifted her timeline and worked through the storm.
In the weeks following, Jennifer and the community joined forces as one team, persevering through the momentous project of hooking and linking each bra together.
People of all ages and backgrounds came with their stories to share.
Some came daily to show support and to be part of this special moment.
Many signed their bra contributions, some of whom included messages to their loved ones who had been affected by breast cancer.
With everyone working together to achieve this goal, Jennifer and her team finally reached 195,000 bras in the chain.
Adjudicator Christina Flounders-Conlon arrived on Wednesday, 16 October to review the evidence and determine the success of the record and it was then announced that the attempt had been successful, with the new record set at a total of 196,564 bras!
Over the course of Jennifer’s record-breaking journey, she collected signed bras from a number of celebrities including Hulk Hogan, Weird Al Yankovic, Burt Reynolds, and more.
She plans to one day auction these off to continue her support in the fight against breast cancer.