Iowa City area breast cancer survivors are taking their fight against the disease to the runway this weekend.
On Sunday afternoon, 14 women — all survivors of breast cancer — will model clothes from local boutiques and retailers during “Surviving in Style,” an event that aims to promote awareness, celebrate survivorship and raise funds for Care for Yourself, an early detection program for breast and cervical cancers.
“We want to show that life goes on — that you can still be fun and stylish and confident and comfortable,” says event organizer, Amy Steger. “We want to show that breast cancer survivors can still wear anything, and do anything.”
“Surviving in Style” is being held at Bella Sala, 3232 Jasper Ave. NW, Iowa City. Doors open at 1 p.m.; the style show begins at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20 at the door.
The event also will include informational booths, a silent auction and two speakers — Molly Barnhart, a 23-year-old breast cancer survivor, and Dr. Ingrid Lizarraga, clinical assistant professor of surgery and endocrine and breast oncology surgeon at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.
“Surviving in Style” organizer, 25-year-old Steger of New Vienna, is the daughter of a 20-year breast cancer survivor. She’s pursing a doctor of medicine with a service distinction track at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, and the style show is her capstone project for the degree. She was inspired by a similar event in Dubuque that her mom was involved with.
“It’s fun. Seeing the style show is something that interests a lot of women … and it’s also a really great way for the survivors to get involved. It’s a special day for them; they get pampered, get their hair done, get their makeup done and get to wear fun clothes,” Steger says.
The breast cancer survivors participating in the show represent a variety of ages, styles and sizes. They even include a mother-daughter pair, both of whom carry the BRCA gene mutation and are survivors of breast cancer.
All survivors were paired with a participating clothing shop, and asked to select two outfits to model. Participating shops include Textiles, Velvet Coat, Dulcinea Iowa City, Heart to Heart Bridal, XOXO Bridal, Active Endeavors, Dressbarn, Coldwater Creek and more. Steger and her sister will serve as emcees.
“The show is going to be fun and entertaining,” Steger says, “but it’s really about supporting and celebrating the survivors.”
And the audience?
“I hope that they walk away having learned something, whether that’s learning about resources that are available in the community, ways to get involved, or just gaining a little bit of perspective of what life after breast cancer can be,” Steger says.