Fashion models celebrate surviving cancer

When cancer survivors made their last stroll down the catwalk at Sunday's Harvesting Hope Fashion Show and benefit, they walked with someone who supported them through their battle with the disease.

"It's a very loving moment," said Pam Graber, Carson-Tahoe foundation executive director. "It's kind of the nugget of the show."

For the 300 audience members, 23 models and handful of organizers, the event was an emotional high often referred to as a "celebration of the survivorship" of the models.

Harvesting Hope is an annual fashion show to benefit cancer services at Carson-Tahoe Hospital. A new cancer center offering radiation, chemotherapy and support services will be built next to the Eagle Valley Children's Home in north Carson.

The project will cost an estimated $10-12 million.

Sunday's show, upstairs in the Carson Nugget, included a raffle with gift-certificate prizes donated by local businesses. A silent auction included items ranging from a pound of coffee every month for a year to a painting by state Attorney General Frankie Sue Del Papa.

Pharmaceutical companies, including GlaxoSmith Kline, Ortho Biotech, Amgen, Cardinal Healthcare, Prostate Services of America and Novartis; and several local oncologist sponsored the event. In addition to financial contributions, physicians Jorge Perez, M.D.; Roland Chen, M.D.; John Kelly, M.D.; Jeffrey Upton, M.D.; and Jennifer Sutton, M.D., acted as ushers.

As the fashion show started, coordinator Beverly Willard described the work of the models as part of a "move from victim to survivor."

"This will be a celebration of each of the survivors' lives and their journey through cancer," she said.

She described how at the end of last year's show, the first, there wasn't a dry eye in the audience.

"Cancer is an equal opportunity predator," said Tom Baker, master of ceremonies and cancer survivor. "It doesn't matter what your age is, whether you're a male or a female, it doesn't care about your religious preference."

Baker is a Carson-Tahoe Hospital Foundation board member, co-chairman in the fund-raising efforts the cancer center, and a rural director under Sen. Richard Bryan,

Baker described the battle of his wife, Chris Baker, with bone marrow cancer. She spent almost 100 days at Stanford Medical Center and had a bone marrow transplant from stem cells harvested from a family member.

"She's doing absolutely great," Tom Baker said of his wife. "The reason she's doing so well is because of the excellent medical support she has received and because of the power of prayer."

Fashions for the show were provided by Sasha's, Harley Davidson, J.C. Penney Co., Genoa Lakes Golf Shop, Williams Furs, Corral West Ranch Wear and Valley Chic Boutique. Women in the show had their hair and makeup done by Platinum Plus.

For the luncheon, Carson Nugget Executive Chef Mario Santos made 300 servings of spinach salad with chutney dressing, grilled salmon with pear sauce, wild rice pilaf, cauliflower, carrots and pumpkin cheesecake.

"It's a challenge to make that many meals with this kind of sauce," said Santos. "You have to get the timing just right."

Baker said the fish was delicious.

"I'm more of a top-sirloin guy, but this is a heart-healthy meal that actually tastes good," he said.


Call the Carson-Tahoe Hospital Foundation at 883-3308.


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