Fashion, fund-raiser, fun |

Fashion, fund-raiser, fun

Laura A. Ball
AE Marcus PU 4-6 Preston Utley/

VAIL – One in seven women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in her lifetime. The good news is that death rates among women with breast cancer are going down. Researchers at the American Cancer Society say that the decline is probably a result of earlier detection and improved treatment.Wednesday at the Vail Marriott Mountain Lodge and Spa, 560 women, and a few men, attended the Spring Luncheon and Fashion Show hosted by the Vail Valley Medical Center Volunteer Corps. About $100,000 was raised to help the Shaw Regional Cancer Center purchase brachytherapy equipment, a cancer treatment that gives doses of radiation meant to better target tumors while reducing damage to healthy tissue.

“We sell out every year,” said chairperson Carolyn Pope. “I think it’s one of the most popular events of the year because it’s a great cause. And I think it’s the official sign of spring.” Pope, who has been planning the fund-raiser since June with the help of co-chairs Stacy Gunderson and Magda Vossler, is pleased with the fund-raiser’s success, not to mention exhausted.Honorary chairperson Elaine Kelton, who has helped organize the benefit in years past, said “Number one, it’s a coming together of all the women who have been so supportive of the cancer center. Number two, it’s a demonstration of the cohesiveness of this community. That doesn’t necessarily happen in a resort community. Plus, it’s fun and exciting.””I’ve been here for 20 years, I’ve seen a lot of familiar faces out supporting the community today,” said Betsy Belvin of Eagle-Vail, who works for WestStar Bank, one of the event’s presenters.

The silent auction, chaired by Sandy Jacaruso, accounted for more than $40,000, a large chunk of the proceeds. Before the luncheon began the Colorado Ballroom was swarming with bidders and onlookers. Items included everything from restaurant gift certificates to artwork to clothes and jewelry to dental care.”Every year I donate something,” said Annemarie Finn of Edwards, owner of the Kitchen and Linen Source. “It’s a fun event, and it goes to a great cause. I think it’s a great turnout. In the winter, we’re all coming out of hibernation. Now spring is here, and it’s fun to look at all the clothes. All the local merchants did a great job donating beautiful items.”This year, organizers added the Patron Preview Party the night before the event, which gave those who purchased a ticket for $150 or more a chance to shop leisurely. Neiman Marcus brought racks of Juicy Couture, Laundry, Kay Unger, Christopher Blue, Nanette Lepore and DKNY, just to name a few. Women walked out with bags full, the night before and the day of the event, and all in the name of charity.

After shopping and silent auction bidding, the luncheon and fashion show got under way. Nancy Sagar of Neiman Marcus MCed the fashion show. She told the ladies how impressed she was with the turnout and support from the community.”I’m almost speechless. And I’m almost never speechless,” Sagar said in the packed Grand Ballroom.Sagar announced the different fashion themes represented by Neiman Marcus – feminine and sophisticated, safari, groovy geometrics and flowers, weekend wear. It felt as if it was several fashion shows instead of just one.Each time the lights went down and the music started, everyone waited anxiously to see the next model’s ensemble appear on the catwalk. Murmurs and whispers waved through the crowd in excitement as flowy skirts, polka dots, ruffles, animal prints and sequins made their way down the runway.

“I love the romance. I love that the clothes let us be ladies,” said Tracy Bossow of Edwards. “The fashion show was fun. It was invigorating. And it’s for a great cause. It’s a wonderful group of people. What more do you want, and what a setting – Vail.” “It’s one of the funnest events of the year,” said Vidette Gehl of Avon. “The best part is that they’re mostly clothes that we can wear.””Each year, Neiman Marcus has a better feel of what we wear and they talior-make the fashion show to appeal to our mountain living,” Pope said. “I thought the clothes were fun and a little bit retro. The colors were great. They’re feminine, they’re comfortable and they’re fun. Neiman’s puts on a heck of a good show. I think it’s a very good cause. It’s going to fight cancer, so you can have fun and feel good about what you’re doing, too.” “I think the fashion show and luncheon is one of the really good ways to raise money for cancer,” said Liz Leeds of Sonnenalp Real Estate Company, who’s mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. “I think it’s important to all of us, as women. We’re all concerned. We’re all worried. We all have friends or relatives or mothers who have been touched.”

Staff Writer Laura A. Ball can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 619, or, Colorado

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