Survivors will walk runway for ovarian cancer research
By Deb Silverthorn
The Be The Difference Foundation’s first Runway for Hope fashion show and luncheon, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Sept. 26 at Arlington Hall in Dallas, will celebrate flair and fun, benefiting Mary Crowley Cancer Research.
“We’re excited to celebrate life and our survivors and raise money to keep making a difference — that’s what we do,” 21-year ovarian cancer survivor and Event Co-chair Lynn Lentscher said. “With Mary Crowley Cancer Research, we’re raising hope and creating awareness to quick and personal responsibility for women facing this insidious disease.” Joining Lentscher as co-chair is Sheryl Yonack and as honorary chair, Elizabeth Gambrell.
Lentscher, Jill Bach, Helen Gardner and Julie Shrell founded Be The Difference Foundation in 2012.
Runway for Hope will feature fashions from Nordstrom and Kendra Scott with former Channel 5 sports anchor Scott Murray and Nordstrom’s Nicole Aarons as emcees. Your Queen Bead and Kendra Scott pop-up shops will be open, along with raffle items for bid and complimentary gift bags from Drunk Elephant.
Yonack and Shrell designed a custom necklace for the event. The bronze-veined turquoise piece with a pavé coin component will be sold at Runway for Hope and during a Kendra Gives Back event from 5 to 7 p.m. on Sept. 24 at Kendra Scott/Preston Center. A donation will be made to Mary Crowley Cancer Research on all sales, and purchases at the Kendra Gives Back event will receive a 10-percent discount.
“We’ve lost mothers and grandmothers, aunts, cousins, daughters and friends. There must be a cure,” said Yonack. “Runway for Hope may raise the dollar that makes that difference. It’s why we’re here.
“Ovarian cancer is the fifth-largest killer of women and it needs to no longer be a quiet disease,” she added.
An estimated 230,000 women live with ovarian cancer in the United States. Of those 230,000 women, 70 percent are expected to die. Through Be The Difference Foundation’s Wheel to Survive indoor cycle, and other events, more than $2.6 million has been donated to agencies for research, growth, support, education and awareness.
Runway for Hope will feature 12 models, currently battling or in remission from ovarian cancer, who will be pampered and readied for the event by Johnny Rodriguez the Salon.
“Ovarian cancer hits women of all ages,” survivor Kezhal Dashti said. “I promised myself that, if I came out alive, I would tell my story and help others. It’s more common than people realize and unfortunately, its diagnosis is often delayed.”
Lauren Shecht’s diagnosis also came after many consultations. After her mother and aunt both had breast cancer, she tested positive for the BRCA1 gene and thought a double mastectomy proactive. Two years later symptoms arose and, through numerous doctors later during exploratory surgery, was diagnosed with Stage 3 ovarian cancer.
“That was with my caution,” said Shecht, whose children were 3 and 6 at the time. “It changes your whole life, your whole plan.”
After sixteen months in remission, cancer returned along with another eight months of chemotherapy. “People don’t realize how many young women are affected,” said Shecht, whose friends and family created the “L Team,” riding many years and raising many dollars in Wheel to Survive. “I’m excited for Runway for Hope, to get dressed up and feel pretty. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt like me and this is a wonderful occasion and cause to share in.”
Patients like Dashti, Shecht and thousands of others depend on treatments and trials like those through Mary Crowley Cancer Research, which has received $400,000 in grants from Be The Difference Foundation. Its mission is to expand treatment options for all cancer patients through the investigational vaccine, gene and cellular therapies.
“We’re an independent agency making things happen quickly and our personal touch is beyond measure,” Mary Crowley Cancer Research Vice President and Chief Development Officer Deborah Montonen said. “We’re thrilled to have the support of Be The Difference Foundation. The more we collaborate, the more we enhance our agency’s visibility. The more we help, the more lives we save.”
Saving lives — that’s always in fashion.
For details, tickets and sponsorships, visit bethedifferencefoundation.org/events.