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Fashion show raises funds for breast cancer research

DULUTH - The models walking this runway weren't used to so much attention.

But the way they sashayed around tables and waved to an applauding crowd, no one could have known that this was their first time showing off the new fall fashions.

They stood out in reds and purples, swishing their skirts and casually tossing jackets around their shoulders. They didn't mind when audience members wanted to touch the fabric of their tops or compliment their shoes. They were breast cancer survivors, showing off Coldwater Creek's new fall line for fun and to raise money for the Breast Cancer 3-Day, a walk to fund research into a cure for the disease.

The fashion show was sponsored by the team Tutus for Tatas, a 77-member group that had raised $131,000 for the event before Saturday's show, team leader Barbara Mock said. The team raised more than $10,000 from the luncheon and fashion show.

Around the room at Cross Pointe Church, people clad in pink dominated the tables. They cheered when each survivor entered the room and teared up during songs and readings and started a bidding war over sheriff's deputies who were auctioned off for dates at Medieval Times.

Melodie Snell Conner, a Superior Court judge and 11-month breast cancer survivor, said she had fun interacting with other women in similar situations as herself. Conner said she decided to participate in the show to bring more awareness to the community.

Terry Franzen, a two-time survivor, teared up when she talked about the fact that she had just passed the five-year mark for the second time. At 24 years, her mother-in-law had survived breast cancer longer than any other attendee. Franzen said her mother was also a 21-year survivor.

"We need to find a cure so my daughter won't have to worry about it anymore," she said.

The Breast Cancer 3-day takes place Oct. 20-22.