By DENISE FEDOROW
THE GOSHEN NEWS
ELKHART — More than 250 people attended the fifth annual United for Fashion fashion show, luncheon and auction Wednesday. The event was a fundraiser for the United Cancer Services of Elkhart County and was held at Elcona Country Club. Fashions were provided by Stephenson’s.
Director of United Cancer Services Peter Norton said when the first event was held it was held at Stephenson’s store, 90 people attended and they raised $15,000.
“We thought that was great,” Norton said. However, the growth of the event cause the event to move to Elcona Country Club and organizers were hoping to surpass the $35,000 raised last year.
“When you attend a United Cancer Service event you’re attending something special because it was founded here in Elkhart County 55 years ago and offers hands on help to local people and 100 percent of the funds raised stay here,” Norton said.
Norton talked about specific clients and the needs the agency has met for them. Several of whom were present at the event.
“We get no money from the government. It’s all donations from local people like yourselves,” he told the audience.
Local newscaster Traci Capellman has been helping with the event for several years and this year a post she saw on Facebook inspired her to share it with the audience. She saw that Marje Reynolds of Stephenson’s had to undergo a double mastectomy. Capellman said the spirit of courage and positivity was what she expected from the woman who had helped other battle cancer for so many years.
Capellman, along with Marje’s son Danny Reynolds of Stephenson’s, announced the models for the fashion show, many of whom were cancer survivors, including first-year model Sally Guard of Nappanee, a breast cancer survivor, and Karin Frey of Elkhart, who along with her mother were both cancer survivors.
Additional models included Marcia Blum, Lenny Carl, Lana Davis, Darcie Gorham, Jill Gude, Cyndy Hoexum, Rosanne Markham, Tami Osborn, Joan Parkes, Cindy Postma, Mandy Reynolds, Nancy Stine and Kim Welch.
Reynolds said the color trend for the holiday season is black and silver with a pop of red. Also “mixed media” sweaters and jackets, which incorporate different textures and materials, are prevalent this season along with what he referred to as “techno stretch pants.”
Stephenson’s had a “pop up store” on site for the attendees to shop some of the fashion they were being shown. Two prevalent designers in the show were Joseph Ribkoff and Ming Wang.
A special tribute was made to Lois Dusthimer for her dedication to the United for Fashion event. Lana Davis gave the tribute and called Lois a “role model exuding grace” and called her a “pillar of the Elkhart community.” She said if you didn’t know Lois, you were missing out on knowing someone very special.
Davis said organizers wanted to recognize Dusthimer for her hard work and dedication to the United Cancer Services. “She was instrumental in the very first United for Fashion event,” Davis said. “Lois is a person of passion; always an example of principled living; a tremendous example of a woman with a servant’s heart. Thank you, Lois, for being a woman of action and not just words.”
Lois’ husband, Tom, who died this summer, had a collection of reportedly 400 pairs of “crazy golf pants” and some were donated to create many of the items, like purses and pillows that were auctioned in the live auction.
Vince Turner and Bobbi Wilson led the bidding for the live auction of mostly hand-crafted items. There was also a silent auction of a variety of donated items.