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Cancer Survivors "Celebrate the Beauty of Life" at Fashion Show Benefit

The Community House hosted a fashion show to benefit Relay for Life and the American Cancer Society.

Kettering Hall was transformed into a runway on Wednesday night, as a group of cancer survivors took to the stage to model new fashions and benefit the American Cancer Society. The Cancer Survivors Fashion Show was hosted by the 2011 Sun Rays Relay for Life team, who will participate in the annual event that raises money for the American Cancer Society.

Although the Sun Rays Relay for Life team has organized fundraisers for the event in years past, this is the first year they put on a fashion show. Janice Muncie, who organized the fashion show, was inspired to do so by her friend and fellow organizer and relayer Mary Youngman. "Mary just reached five years as a cancer survivor, and I wanted to celebrate that," Janice said. "Mary is so outgoing, I thought a fashion show would be a great way to celebrate and raise money for the American Cancer Society at the same time." 

The evening, which hosted over 200 guests, began with hors d'oeuvres and a raffle; food and prizes were donated by local vendors including , the  and the , , , , and  Clarendon Hills wine shop also hosted a tasting table.

After an introduction by Debbie Fager of the American Cancer Society, guests were treated to a performance by the Thistle & Heather Highland Dancers, followed by a fashion show featuring clothes from Coldwater Creek. All of the models in the show were women who had survived cancer for anywhere between 5 months and twenty-two years.

All Wined Up's co-owner Terrie Walker and her husband Brian were excited to contribute to the fashion show. "We've both had friends or family affected by cancer, so we know how worthwhile a cause it is," Terrie said. "It was inspiring to see so many local supporters come to such a great event."

Relay for Life is an annual event that began in 1985. Each year, 3.5 million people in the U.S. and twenty other countries organize 24-four hour relays in their individual communities. The purpose of these efforts is to remember those lost to cancer, celebrate those who have beat it, and raise funds so that the American Cancer Society can continue to fight the disease. Each relay is unique, but all of these events feature a Survivors' Lap, where cancer survivors take a lap around the track to acknowledge their victory over cancer, as well as a Luminaria Ceremony to honor those who have been affected by cancer. The Cancer Survivors Fashion Show paid tribute to the Luminaria Ceremony by decorating the stage in Kettering Hall with giant luminarias. 

Muncie was thrilled with the result of her team's brand-new fundraiser, especially the finale of the show when all of the models gathered onstage. "It was great to see their families and friends celebrate them, and for them to be the center of attention in a good way," she said. "It showed that they know they're survivors."

For more information on participating in this year's Relay for Life, contact Leslie Abrahamson of the American Cancer Society at leslie.ambrahamson@cancer.org.

The models featured in the fashion show were:

Carol Armbruster

Joan Bluethmann

Kristine Gross

Julie Hafner

Mary Launi

Gina Letts

Nazneen Lotia

Joanne Powell

Jackie Price

Ruth Rank

Deb Sowski

Mary Beth Vaikutis

Mary Youngman

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