As the applause echoed through Ingalls Harbor Pavilion, Rita Childers stood, looked around the room at the dozens of women standing with her and offered a silent prayer.
“It was so moving to see all of us standing together. We all looked so good and healthy. It is so encouraging to be here with all these other survivors. I thank God every day that I am cancer free,” the Eva woman and four-year breast cancer survivor said.
To celebrate breast cancer survivors, support individuals currently in treatment and generate funds to fight the disease that will impact more than 271,000 women in the United States this year, the Decatur Morgan Hospital Foundation hosted the ninth annual Power of Pink Fashion Show and Luncheon.
A sold-out crowd of 930 women and men attended the event Tuesday at Ingalls Harbor. Chaired by June Odom, the fashion show featured wearable daytime and evening looks by Carriage House and avant-garde creations by deLoain New York.
“Breast cancer events are popular in general because breast cancer affects so many. That the money we raise goes back into our local hospital is important to people,” said Noel Lovelace, president of the Decatur Morgan Hospital Foundation. “People come to the fashion show every year, in part, because you never know what deLoain (Burgess) will come up with.”
Using orange-painted limbs, orange leaves, orange flower petals and orange berries, the Decatur stylist created a monochromatic extravaganza for the fall fashion show. Outfits by Carriage House showcased trends for fall and winter, including leopard, flower and geometric prints, moto jackets, tie-waist dresses, printed scarves and boots featuring a palate of browns, blacks, whites, burnt orange, mustard yellow, bright green and maroons.
“This is such a fun celebration and for such a good cause. Breast cancer affects so many of us,” said the 64-year-old Childers, a retired third grade school teacher. “I faithfully had mammograms every year. When they found mine, it was Stage 3. I was so surprised. I didn’t think it would happen to me. I am so thankful, though, that they did.”
Typically, 80 to 90 women who have battled breast cancer attend the fashion show every year.
Since the fashion show debuted nine years ago, it and the Lee Lott Power of Pink Walk have brought in more than $710,000 to the hospital’s breast health and cancer services, which provides community screenings and free and discounted mammograms for uninsured women. Funds raised during previous Power of Pink events helped outfit Decatur Morgan Hospital’s Breast Health Center with a 3D mammography machine, which assists doctors in better detecting lumps, tumors and abnormalities.
The Lee Lott Power of Pink Walk, held in honor of Decatur High teacher Lee Lott, who will celebrate 10 years as a breast cancer survivor in May, will bring 1,000 participants to downtown Decatur on Oct. 27. The walk will start at 2 p.m. at Founders Park on Church Street Northeast.