Fashion show raises money for breast cancer research

BUCKHEAD - More than 600 women sifted through clothes, jewelry and gift baskets to place their bids in a silent auction as part of the American Cancer Society's annual Hope Fashion Show on Monday.

The women of the American Cancer Society Women's Auxiliary planned the event to raise money for breast cancer research.

This year's show was number 16 for the auxiliary with members from Gwinnett, Forsyth, Rockdale and Fulton counties.

The event raised more than $100,000 last year, and fashion show co-chairwoman Kay Fitch said they hoped to raise more with the 2007 show.

The show started at 11:30 a.m. in the ballroom of the Ritz-Carlton in Buckhead. Models, professionals and cancer survivors, strutted down a runway showing off clothes provided by Karen's Fine Apparel in Duluth.

Store owner Karen Bull, who has provided clothes for the event for the past four years, also gathered the models and choreographed the show.

"This is my cause," Bull said. "Because my mom died of cancer and my dad had cancer, we have a lot of history. I say love more, live more, give more ... that's my motto. This is my way of doing that."

Many of the models have participated in the Hope show for years, Bull said.

Tian Justman, who was diagnosed with cancer at age 16, said she was a model in the show last year and has enjoyed volunteering her time for the cause.

As a survivor of osteosarcoma, Justman, 24, of Atlanta said the show is her way of giving back to the American Cancer Society.

"I think the show is fabulous," she said. "I received college scholarships from the cancer society and received my treatment from St. Jude which relies on donations, so I do anything I can do to help."

Buford resident and 21-year survivor of thyroid cancer Pam Lanford also modeled clothes from Karen's.

Lanford, 56, said she has participated in the show for the past three or four years as both a survivor and professional model, giving many of her proceeds from modeling to cancer research.

"I support anything that can help the cancer society and their research and finding a cure," Lanford said.

The show and auction included a three-course lunch with the purchase of the $75 seat, with all the proceeds from the purchase of the seat or table, auctions and all funds raised going to breast cancer research and prevention.

Fitch said planning for the show takes about a year and women from Gwinnett, Fulton, Rockdale and Forsyth counties scramble to get tickets each year.

"They'll be a lot of tears here, but happy ones. Raising money for cancer means a lot to these women," Fitch said. "There's a great amount of energy and love that goes into this show."