It took the commitment of time and resources from hundreds of volunteers, hailing from places well beyond northern Rhode Island.
In 2019, North Smithfield resident and Athena’s Home Novelties CEO Jennifer Jolicoeur put the region in the Guinness Book of World Records by assembling a chain of nearly 200,000 bras.
The achievement marked completion of a decade-long dream for Jolicoeur, and proved to be no small feat.
The founder of the multi-million adult novelties business had been collecting the garments for years, as both a fundraiser and a way to draw awareness of the disease. In October, she gathered an army of supporters at River’s Edge Recreational Complex in Woonsocket with plans to hook them together.
But World Record judges follow a strict set of guidelines, and assembling the massive chain would be far more difficult than anticipated.
When NRI NOW first visited the park on Monday, Oct. 7, Jolicoeur was one day away from a deadline for the project initially established by Guinness, and less than halfway to her goal. A mission she hoped to accomplish in just five days, known as the Athena’s World Cup, was slated to keep her at the park 12 hours a day for nearly two weeks, and her success was far from certain.
Our story, documenting the assembly process, and Jolicoeur’s emotional connection and determination, was “liked” by more than 1,300 readers.
Joliceour later told the publication that she had shared it with a judge from Guinness, who was brought to tears by the story.
On Monday, Oct. 15, a tired bra-assembly team blanketed the park, and was NRI NOW was on the scene taking video as the crew worked with machine-like focus.
And that afternoon, we captured the emotional moment when the record-breaking brassiere crossed the finish line.
At a press conference later that week, a judge presented Jolicoeur with an official citation from Guinness.
Volunteers removed the 124-mile–long chain from the field with a forklift in November.