Carolyn Campbell has no shortage of empathy for women dealing with breast cancer. She knows all too well what they are going through.
A 21-year survivor of the disease, Campbell, of Rock Island, decided this spring to be a model in the Stylin' Against Breast Cancer fashion show and luncheon.
"If I can do something to help, I want to," she said.
Campbell will be one of 23 women, all of them breast cancer survivors, who serve as models in the show later this month. The show is the highlight of a two-day fundraiser to be held April 24-25 in downtown Rock Island as well as at the Quad-Cities Waterfront Convention Center in Bettendorf.
An April 24 wine-and-cheese party and the April 25 luncheon, style show and educational symposium are all fundraisers for area breast cancer education and risk-reduction efforts. A full 100 percent of the money raised stays in the Quad-Cities, organizers say.
The events have grown increasingly popular in the past few years.
"The whole breast cancer community in the Quad-Cities is very passionate about wanting to help patients and the families," said Marika Jones, the president of the Trinity Health Foundation in Moline. Trinity Regional Health System is a major sponsor for Stylin', and Jones is on the committee that plans the event.
New educational symposium
New this year is an hour-long educational seminar set for the morning of April 25 and hosted by Paula Sands, a survivor of ovarian cancer. "Coffee with Paula Sands" will be 10-11 a.m. and include four doctors from the Trinity Breast Health Center. Sands is a news anchor and the host of the "Paula Sands Live" weekday talk show on KWQC-TV.
Doctors on the seminar panel are Melinda Hass, Susan Bird, Paula Arnell and Christine Sharis.
Hass, the breast center director, said the symposium was added to promote cancer awareness and to stress the importance of early detection in fighting the disease.
"These physicians happen to be women with a passion for women's health," Hass said. "They will provide the audience the opportunity to learn about the current standard of care and the latest updates regarding the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer," she added.
The audience will see examples of breast X-rays, mammograms, MRIs and information on planning for radiation therapy. They also will learn important information about hormone therapy, Hass said.
"Paula will ask questions and the audience can get involved in this," Jones said.
About the fashion show
The 23 models will wear a variety of summertime outfits, including swimsuits.
Campbell, who is 66 years old and a retired nurse, plans to wear cropped pants with a matched, flowing top and accessories. "It's a cute outfit," she said, noting that she picked it out with the help of Roxanne Kramer, who coordinates the show.
Kramer, also a breast cancer survivor, owns the Always A Woman boutique in downtown Moline and co-founded the Quad-City Breast Cancer & Lymphedema Support Group. The annual Roxanne Kramer Award was named in her honor, and that will be given for the fourth time during the style show. The award is given to an outstanding individual, organization or business that has contributed to the quality of life for breast cancer survivors and helped educate the community about breast cancer and breast health.
Sands will be the emcee, and Kramer will read personal stories and testimonials from the models as they walk on the stage.
"This is very powerful and inspirational. You hear what they have gone through. They smile and they glow," Jones, of the foundation, said.
"You come away in awe of their courage. They are true inspirations," she added.
A chance to test-drive a car, too
Another new aspect of Stylin' Against Breast Cancer is the Drive 4 UR Community event, a partnership with the Ford Motor Co. and Lindquist Ford in Bettendorf.
That will take place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 25, and participants do not necessarily have to attend the luncheon. One person per family is invited to test-drive a Ford vehicle for five minutes. The event will be held in the Waterfront center's parking lot.
For each person who makes a test drive, $20 will be donated to the breast cancer cause, Jones said.
Campbell, the retired nurse who will model for the first time in the style show, admits to having a few nerves.
Breast cancer patients will see many other survivors, including those who have no problems associated with their cancer as well as those who have found effective ways to deal with cancer-related issues, she pointed out.
"It will be fun just to see all the people who are out there," she said.