The Saks Fifth Avenue Key to the Cure fashion show converted Mimi Dane from someone who wouldn't wear heels to a woman who's into fashion.
Of course, that wasn't the point. The local event benefits the Columbus Cancer Clinic and features a lineup of volunteer models who are all cancer survivors. Dane has been among them for the past two years, since the Saks Fifth Avenue at Polaris Fashion Place began putting on the show.
"It's real people and the spirit of that celebration is amazing," Dane said. "If you go to that event, you will be incredibly inspired."
Nationally, Saks Fifth Avenue has raised more than $32 million for cancer research in the 11 years since its Key to the Cure fundraising program began.
For this year's Columbus event, which will be held October 11 in the main area of the mall, organizers are hoping to double their fashion show audience to 800. Current fashions from Saks will be modeled during the show, a cocktail party will be held, and all weekend, a percentage of Saks Fifth Avenue purchases benefit the clinic.
Cindy Holt, a Grove City mother of two who modeled for the first time last year and will be walking the runway again later this month, shared a peek behind the scenes.
When were you diagnosed with breast cancer?
In 2005. I had a bilateral mastectomy - my mother had breast cancer three times, and I decided I didn't want to go through that - and then I did chemo. And I'm fine now.
How did you get involved with Key to the Cure?
My mother-in-law volunteers with the Cancer Clinic, and she's the one that got me involved. I'm a shopper, so this is right up my alley.
What's the atmosphere like during the show?
It was really fun because the audience really got into it, and they kind of egged you on. They clapped a lot. I sold 25 tickets, so I had a lot of people there. I know one thing I need to do is slow down [laughing]. My daughter-in-law was taking pictures, and she said that I walked too fast. I was kind of nervous, it being my first time, and I don't really like the attention. I'll slow down this year.
Do you and the other models have good camaraderie?
Yes. Of course, three or four of us were new last year, and we didn't know everybody. But they get together for lunches sometimes, and it's just great [backstage]. Everybody's doing it for the same cause, and they all get pumped up. I was nervous, but everybody else, they loved it. So I'm hoping all the same girls go back this year.
What do you enjoy most about it?
My mother just passed away from breast cancer. And of course, I had it. So it's for a good cause, it raises a lot of money and it raises awareness.