For those just joining the story, back in 1997, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Thanks to a routine mammogram, it was found early enough that it really only seemed to be a nuisance, rather than a death sentence like I expected.
Flash forward a few years and I am working doing health and educational seminars for older adults. Even though the research was showing that age increases your risks of having breast cancer, we were finding that older women were not getting mammograms and some never had! So I tried to think of a way to help educate women on the need for early detection and treatment of breast cancer and came up with the idea of a Pink Ribbon Tea Party.
The first year I had 75 people show up but was pleased enough to try it the next year again. The 2nd year, 150 came and the numbers continued to grow until we have now had to rent smaller chairs to fit more women around each table with the attendance generally over 400!
One of the highlights of the event is a fashion show.
Last year I did kids showing cute summer outfits. One year I did early 20's with the latest in denim fashion. Other years we have used Chico's, JC Penney's, and a "Sunday Best" show.
This year we decided to use our "newly singles" group and even go so far as to name Oak Cliff's Top Mature Model.
The last time I wrote about this group I was looking for a fairy godmother to help address those who should have been using Nair (or whatever you can use on your face), supportive foundation garments, and an adjustment on their wigs.
Well I found a fairy godmother right under my nose in my co-worker, Audrey.
Audrey is a more mature employee and contacted each one, in the way only she can, and talked about the problems she had noticed and made some suggestions on how to fix them.
They showed up Monday in their Sunday best, ready to be fitted with whatever fashion statement we decided they should make.
We had inventoried everyone's size and took note of their usual attire, then matched them up with a variety of clothiers down in the Bishop Arts District, none of which sell to the more mature crowd.
Before we could even get in the front door of the first place, the employee told us they were closed and shut the door.
OK, that did not set well with my 12 models and 4 assistants. We had appointments with all these places and had told them how many, got their cell phones, and watched as each put it in the iphones. Yet somehow NONE of them were prepared to assist us in finding fashion show styles to help promote their business, as well as provide the "fashion" part of the "fashion show"!
Somehow my fairy godmother must have granted me another wish and suddenly all the stores opened their doors and their arms and greeted us ready to provide whatever was needed. It really seemed like it changed with the wave of a wand!
For those of you unfamiliar with the Bishop Arts District, a lot of up and coming stylists feature their work there. One big problem is that a size zero is one of their larger sizes! I had several who needed a much more mature size than even a 16!
We split up the group according to the store we thought most appropriate and then began the hunt of finding that one special outfit that will help them look their best, and will fit, and that everyone could agree on.
I have to say shopping with two 12 years can be difficult, but shopping with 12 75 year olds is even harder, especially since I think 75 was a fairly young one in the group.
For some we literally ran them through each store until they could find something they liked. For others, they stood like soldiers going off to war and being put through that one last training exercise but at least agreed with all they were told to do, not necessarily happy, but obedient!
After what seemed an incredibly long 3 and a half hours, almost everyone was taken care of, fashions and accessories were selected.
I just hope that fairy godmother has one more wish for me to use on Saturday to ensure success of this adventure!