‘Celebration’ life beyond breast cancer
Last Saturday I had the pleasure of attending the ‘Celebration’, an event showcasing the beauty, grace and resiliency of life beyond breast cancer. Laughter mingled with tears as the community celebrated these extraordinary women, and one gentleman, who are vibrant survivors following their breast cancer diagnosis. The ‘Celebration’ was all about music, dance, fashion, beauty, delicious food, camaraderie, support and fun in an elegant setting.
The event was held at ‘The Palms‘ event center in Chico, California.
Merchants, business owners, make-up artists and stylists around Chico donated of their clothing, jewelry, food, supplies as well as personal time, and hearts, to make the stars of the show shine.
Everyone seemed to be ‘thinking pink’ with coral tones, and fuchsia, and every lovely shade in between.
Community members generously donated fabulous prizes and raffle items for the pre-show event.
Yes ladies……’you’ve got legs’ and you know how to use them!
This show was rocking!!
The “Can’t Stop Me!” boots say it all….
Every moment was a celebratory dance…..
and a cheer of ‘We Can Do It’!!
‘We can do it’….
and do it in white suits and heels!!
The men…..ahhhh the men.
Did I mention local firefighters served as escorts?
We are just lucky they were such good sports….
and so were the women!
Just dance….and they did……even Gangnam Style!
The song, ‘Let It Go’ was the backdrop for a final emotive scene. As each woman walked on stage, wearing a dark coat, she ‘let it go’ on to the ground. An uniformed firefighter was waiting in the shadows, on bended knee, to gather up the coat and offer her an arm in chivalry. There was not a dry eye in the house with the symbolism of this moment.
The Grand finale of the ‘Celebration’
Showcasing their beauty….
and their resilience…..
This event would not have been possible without the tireless efforts of so many dedicated volunteers,
many who are breast cancer survivors themselves.
The event was founded by Charlene Mikeska (lower center), herself a breast cancer survivor of 22 years. She participated in a similar gala event when she lived in Marin County. Charlene championed her desire to bring this kind of celebration to Chico, and the first event was held in 2009. In her words, “Most of the models agree to serve because they believe in raising consciousness, and money, for breast cancer. They don’t realize until the day of the event that they will be celebrating themselves and their endurance with grace through a difficult journey. The transformation of hearts of the models is the most exciting part of the Celebration – their eyes are opened to see themselves as capable of anything, and to discover that they are not alone, but supported and loved by all those in attendance.”
The co-chairs of the ‘Celebration’ this year were Ronnie Campbell and Kathy Lanpheir. Together with teams of community members, merchants and volunteers, they created an extraordinary and memorable event for all who participated and attended.
As a lifestyle blogger it was a privilege to be asked to assist with a few of the many styling sessions. Henri Henderson and April Stein (center) worked tirelessly to coordinate the fashion styling with local retailers for many months. As breast cancer survivors themselves, they have both been models in the ‘Celebration’ fashion show in previous years, and understand the power of the experience. Judy Sitton (left) was the ‘Mistress of Ceremonies’ and a fellow fashion stylist for the event. Their dedication to supporting breast cancer survivors is awe-inspiring.
In a note from Marilyn after the event, “The Celebration is a result of willing models and my energizer bunny co-chair couples, Ronnie and Colin Campbell/Kathy and Rae Lanpheir; Producers, Deverie Jarrett/Nicole Scoubes and Wardrobe co-chairs, Henri Henderson/April Stein, the core of our committees and their village of volunteers!”. From what I saw it definitely takes a village to throw a celebration of this magnitude!
A sneak peek behind the scenes at a couple of our energetic, fun-filled styling sessions.
Finally, a quiet moment of reflection for the women and men who are thriving in their lives after breast cancer, including several of my family members. I’m remembering those we have lost to cancer, like my dad, and my hope that raising awareness and funding will mean an end to this kind of loss in life. I’m reminded of the celebration, the enthusiasm for life, the shining faces, and the hope for the future that an event like this brings to us. Sharing in the ‘Celebration’ of these inspiring women and men, living and thriving beyond breast cancer, is a life changing experience.
I’m honored to share this story with you today……
Are you feeling inspired too?
Update October 10th: I’m adding a link to a blog post written by one of the ‘Celebration’ models and
the transformation she felt by being part of the event.
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