NEW PARIS — The American Cancer Society’s Survivor Style Show will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 22, in the National Trail Elementary gymnasium.
According to organizers Tiana White and Patti Hunyadi, the Style Show provides an opportunity for cancer survivors to spread awareness, raise money for the cause, and celebrate their own survival.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show begins at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $10 pre-sale or $15 at the door.
Tickets may be purchased at Your Flower Shop in Eaton or at Color Me Crazy and Hairy Decisions in New Paris. Call Tiana White at 273-2092 or Patti Hunyadi at 733-1459 with questions or to purchase tickets.
Fashions are provided by Cato of Eaton and Dance with Me of Richmond, Indiana. Proceeds benefit the Preble County Relay for Life.
“This is a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, for our Relay for Life Team. It is also to help cancer survivors celebrate and help them feel a little more special,” White said. “People should come out and help us celebrate those who are dealing with cancers or who have survived cancer. I keep hoping with all the technology and medicine, with fundraising we will continue to find the answers we need.
“We are getting close on some cancers, we’ve found a lot of breakthroughs. I keep hoping, with everybody’s help, we’ll get there.”
The models in the Style Show are all volunteers who have been diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives. This gives them an opportunity to dress up for the audience and show off their self confidence — something many of them had to work hard for after beating cancer.
Suzette Weadick has participated in the Style Show for four years now. When she was approached with the opportunity, she was honored to participate as a way to show those currently battling cancer that survival is possible.
“You may be going through hell at the time, but there is going to be light at the end of the tunnel. With all of us there and a smile on our face and hair on our head, it’s validation not to lose hope,” she said. “None of us are guaranteed tomorrow and so we really need to cherish the day and live present in the moment. I’m just grateful to be here with this amazing group of women.”
Weadick is a seven year colon cancer survivor who tries not to let that define her. She has chosen to participate in the Style Show for four years to support the cause with her “second chance at life.”
“If I can give back in any way, that is what I want to do,” she said.
Courtney Diehl started participating in the Style Show when she was in middle school. She took a few years off, because she was attending college, but now – at the age of 21 – she is back to modeling in the show. Her case was a little different then the majority of the models in the show, as she had childhood cancer. However, for her, it was important to show that all ages can have – and defeat – cancer.
“I think that childhood cancer isn’t really recognized a lot. Seeing this little girl in the fashion show I think caught people’s attention and made them want to continue supporting the show. I’m also not one to dress up and I like being called pretty,” she said.
Diehl literally fought for her life when she was diagnosed with cancer as a child. At one point, she was admitted into the ICU, with doctors convinced she wasn’t going to make it.
“My mom, my sister, and I had just moved up to Ohio. I had been sick for awhile and nobody could figure out why. I had this pain and we figured I hurt myself falling down a hill. Finally, we went to Children’s Hospital and found out my blood count was extremely low. They put me in the hospital and started treatment in April of 2003,” she said.
“Fast-forward to October of that year, I ended up in the ICU on life support for over a month with complete renal failure and bleeding of the brain. They told my parents I was not leaving and they needed to think of other options. Here I am today with three and a half kidneys that have scars, slight memory problems, but not much else. I am celebrating 15 years this year.”
Diehl will be modeling her wedding dress, which she purchased from Dance with Me.
In addition to the fashion show aspect of the night, there will also be refreshments, entertainment, and raffle prizes.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH