Fashion show honors cancer awareness

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 14, 2004

Times-Journal writer

There was a celebration of life, survival and womanhood Wednesday night during REACH 2010’s annual “Pretty in Pink” fashion show in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

This year, around 14 women stood on the stage at Wallace Community College Selma to show off their stylish, Sunday best outfits. All of the models were breast cancer survivors, and each was there to prove that even after all they have been through, they still look beautiful.

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“I really enjoyed doing it,” said Ella Smith, one of the models. “This was my second time to do the fashion show, and last year I was in a skit.”

After the fashion show, moderator Jeanie Ward said the women who took their turn on stage belonged to an “elite group” that no woman should ever have to be a part of.

“We don’t want any woman to get cancer and go through the tough treatments that these women had to experience,” Ward said.

Claudia Hardy, from the Deep South Network for Cancer Control, said breast cancer effects nine out of 10 women in the U.S. and is the most common type of cancer among women.

More white women tend to get breast cancer, Hardy said, but more black women tend to die from the disease.

“As a woman, getting older puts us all at risk,” Hardy told the crowd. “I need to remind you to do monthly breast exams. When you turn 40, get to the doctor every year to have a breast and cervical exam. Women over 40 should

go get mammograms.”

Hardy also reminded women to teach their daughters how to do self-breast exams and encourage them to check their breasts at least once a month.

“You do not have to wait until you get up in age to do breast self-exams,” she said. “There are some young ladies out there who have gotten breast cancer.”

Judith Donaldson, REACH 2010 County Coordinator, said each year the “Pretty in Pink” fashion show continues to grow.

“I am really happy with the turn-out this year and I’m glad to know we are growing,” she said.

One of the honorary fashion models this year was Barbara McGary, who is currently battling her third bout with the disease.

“I’ve had breast cancer since 2001,” McGary said. “This last time, I found the lump myself. As soon as I felt that hard knot, I didn’t hesitate to go to the doctor.”

McGary said she encourages all women to have their breast examined on a regular basis and do self-exams.

McGary says she is dealing with her difficulties through “prayer and staying closer to the Lord.”

Part of a collaboration with the University of Alabama at Birmingham, the Dallas County REACH 2010 Core Working Group seeks to reduce the disparity in breast and cervical cancer death rates between black and white women.

The 13 members of the REACH 2010 core working group train community volunteers to serve as community health advisors to promote breast and cervical cancer screening, promote breast and cervical cancer awareness and control among leaders and policy makers.