2013 Circles of Life Fashion Show & Luncheon
Empowered Cancer Patients, Survivors Walk the Runway in St. Joseph Hospital's Circle of Life Fashion Show and Luncheon
June 24, 2013 (ANAHEIM, Calif.) – An estimated one out of 10 million people per year are diagnosed with Appendiceal Cancer and last year Fullerton resident Heidi Swanson-Fellows was that one. Though there was limited information available on this type of cancer, Swanson-Fellows said she was used to dealing with rare diagnoses, working in the Cancer Genetics Program at The Center for Cancer Prevention and Treatment at St. Joseph Hospital. When it came time to choose a medical team, she chose St. Joseph Hospital.
“How fortunate am I to have the St. Joseph Hospital team of physicians and the cancer genetics program guide my surgical and treatment plan,” Swanson-Fellows said. “I’m grateful to them for their tremendous experience that has allowed me to triumph over this rare cancer.”
Now cancer free, Swanson-Fellows strutted down the runway June 9 at St. Joseph Hospital’s annual Circles of Life Fashion Show and Luncheon as a strong, empowered survivor with her “Significant Support Person” by her side — her 8-year-old daughter Audrey who Swanson-Fellows said kept her laughing and spirits high throughout her battle with cancer.
The fashion show and luncheon, held at the Hilton Anaheim Hotel, had more than 900 guests in attendance – from doctors and hospital staff, to cancer survivors and their loved ones.
Swanson-Fellows was among the 25 cancer survivors and patients who walked the runway in designer fashions and helped raise more than $123,000 in support of The Center for Cancer Prevention and Treatment at St. Joseph Hospital.
“This event is a wonderful opportunity to recognize some of the amazing stories of survival from the patients we see at the Center every day,” said Jay Harness, MD, St. Joseph Hospital general and breast surgeon and chair of the fashion show. “These models are an inspiration to us all and provide much needed hope to everyone who has been affected by cancer.”
Also participating in the fashion show was fellow Fullerton resident Dave Bigley, a one-year Hodgkin’s Lymphoma survivor. Bigley said he was surprised to be nominated as one of this year’s models but was motivated to participate to say “thank you.”
“St. Joseph Hospital is an amazing place and if I can give something back for what I received — healing — then I will,” Bigley said. “Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is a game changer but also a new beginning filled with hope. It has allowed me to reset my life focusing on more important things.”
Although the fashion and fundraising made for an entertaining event, the models agreed that the most rewarding part of the day was being able to show their loved ones – who saw them through their worst – what they look like at their best.
The St. Joseph Hospital Circles of Life Fashion Show and Luncheon is the only major fundraising event for The Center and has raised more than $1.1 million in its 17-year history. The Center is the first of its kind in Orange County and one of only a few in the nation offering the latest in preventative care, diagnostics, treatment and clinical trials. The Center’s cancer programs allow specially trained physicians to perform research and discover new treatments and therapies for cancer. For more information about St. Joseph Hospital's comprehensive cancer services visit: www.sjo.org/cancer.
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