Originally Posted Online: April 15, 2013, 2:19 pm
Last Updated: April 16, 2013, 12:31 am

Fashion show offers cancer survivor a chance to give back

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By Laura Anderson Shaw, landerson@qconline.com

More photos from this shoot
Photo: Todd Mizener
Breast cancer survivor Linda Little, of Port Byron, models the swimsuit she will don on the runway this year at Stylin' Against Breast Cancer, an annual luncheon and fashion show that celebrates survivors and raises awareness about breast health and breast cancer.

For breast-cancer survivor Linda Little, Stylin' Against Breast Cancer is a chance to give back.

The 72-year-old Port Byron woman said there was a time years ago when she was taking care of her mother and couldn't work, so she relied on vouchers to pay for her yearly mammograms.

Now, and for the past several years, she has been a model for Stylin' Against Breast Cancer, a luncheon, fashion show and more featuring local breast-cancer survivors.

Having received help when she needed it is one of the reasons "I like to do this," she said.

It "helps me kind of pay back for when I had hard times."

Ms. Little said she enjoys doing anything she can to help raise funds for charities. Being out on the runway at the Stylin' Against Breast Cancer fashion show -- organized by the Trinity Health Foundation in partnership with Always a Woman, Midwest Hope and Healing, the Trinity Cancer Center and other advocates of breast health and cancer survivors -- means that she's helping to raise money for a good cause.

"That's the part I love about it -- being able to help," she said.

All of the money raised through the event goes to projects that benefit local breast-cancer survivors and that promote education about breast cancer and breast health.

"Cancer can strike anyone," Ms. Little said, a fact she knows all too well.

Ms. Little was diagnosed with breast cancer in July 2001 after a routine mammogram. She had a lumpectomy and 11 lymph nodes (which were not cancerous) removed later that month. She received radiation treatments for six weeks, and was on cancer drugs for five years. She also was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a chronic condition characterized by widespread pain, which her doctor attributed to the stress of having cancer.

After her diagnosis, Ms. Little said she was "devastated." But she prayed, and she called her prayer partners and friends from her church, Bethel Baptist in Port Byron, which "brought me through," she said.

Being on the runway for the Stylin' fashion show means "you can survive it and live a happy, healthy life," Ms. Little said. "For me to get out there and be on the runway, I'm helping to show that."

Ms. Little said you don't need to have had cancer -- or know someone who has had cancer -- to come to the event. "You never know when cancer is going to strike your family or friends," she said.

"We need to have the funds there to help."

Funds raised at Stylin' Against Breast Cancer aren't going to be "shipped off," Ms. Little said. "They're going to stay right here to help cancer patients in the Quad-Cities."

Marika Jones, Trinity Health Foundation president, said Stylin' Against Breast Cancer is a fundraiser, "but it's actually much, much more than that."

She said the annual event, now in its eighth year, was created to generate awareness and educate the community about breast cancer and breast health, and to celebrate survivors.

The funds raised allow grants to be awarded to organizations in the Quad-Cities that help breast-cancer patients and their families, Ms. Jones said.

The festivities for Stylin' will begin with a wine-and-cheese party from 6 to 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 24, at the Stern Center, 1713 3rd Ave., Rock Island. The party will feature "dueling pianos," a raffle and silent auction, light hors d'oeuvres and wine served by area men who are connected to someone who has been diagnosed with breast cancer.

Tickets for the wine-and-cheese party are $35 with a reservation, or $45 at the door.

It's a "fun, celebratory event" the night before the Stylin' fashion show and luncheon, Ms. Jones said.

New this year in the string of Stylin' events is an education symposium called Coffee With Paula Sands. The casual, conversational discussion will be hosted by four doctors from Trinity's Breast Health Center and moderated by Ms. Sands, host of "Paula Sands Live" on KWQC-TV. It will take place from 10 to 11 a.m. Thursday, April 25, at the Isle Casino Hotel, 1777 Isle Parkway, Bettendorf. Cost is $15, or free with a luncheon ticket.

Ms. Jones said the doctors will walk through two cases of women who had breast cancer, dispelling common myths about the disease, offering information about the variety of treatment options, and allowing for questions from the audience.

Doors to the luncheon at the Quad Cities Waterfront Convention Center, 2021 State St., Bettendorf,will open at 11 a.m. Thursday. Lunch will begin at 11:30 a.m., and the fashion show will begin at noon.

Tickets are $45, but a special combo ticket is available for $75 for the wine-and-cheese party and the luncheon. Because Stylin' commonly sells out, Ms. Jones suggests people make reservations by visitingtrinityhealthfoundation.org, or by calling 309-764-7610.

Ms. Jones said the fourth winner of the Roxanne Kramer award also will be honored at the luncheon.The award is an annual honor given to an outstanding individual, organization or business that has tirelessly contributed to the quality of life of breast-cancer survivors and has helped educate the community about breast cancer and breast health, according to a news release.

Ms. Kramer, a breast-cancer survivor herself, owns the Always a Woman boutique in Moline and co-founded the Quad City Breast Cancer & Lymphedema Support Group.

Ms. Jones said Stylin' is an event unlike any other. It offers a "real sense of community and love and passion for helping each other."

For more information about the event, visittrinityhealthfoundation.org.