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10/8/2012

By JUDY SHERARD

jsherard@dailynews.net

Oct. 20 will be a day of celebrating survivors for Cancer Council of Ellis County.

The 17th annual Day of Caring brunch and fashion show begins at 9 a.m. in the Fort Hays State University Memorial Union.

The style show features breast cancer survivors modeling outfits that range from casual wear to formal attire provided by local businesses.

"They ask to participate," Paula Flesher, executive director of the ECCC, said of the stores.

The annual event celebrates breast cancer awareness and survivorship.

Flesher said she usually sees caregivers at the council office, but the Day of Caring gives her a chance to get better acquainted with the survivors.

"I know their story," she said. "Most are finished with their treatment. They're back in the community."

One such individual is Bonita Jensen of Hays, a 20-year survivor who has modeled for several years. Others, such as Alice Goetz, a 24-year survivor from Park, will be modeling for the first time.

Many say they're "not modeling material," Flesher said.

She tells them being "model material" isn't a requirement.

This year's Day of Caring chairman, Kathy Cossaart, owns a local salon and started volunteering three years ago fixing the models' hair.

"It's very important to get support for the survivors," she said of the event. "I see the difference it makes for the survivors. It helps the other people realize what they're going through."

Cossaart is a previvor, a person who tested positive for the BRCA gene mutation.

"I didn't have breast cancer, but the gene runs in my family," Cossaart said.

Nicole Spray, APRN at HaysMed Breast Care Center, will be the speaker. Her topic is genetics.

Tickets for the Day of Caring are $18 and must be purchased by Monday.

The second event of the day is the cancer survivors day tailgate celebration beginning at 1 p.m. on the east side of Lewis Field.

The ECCC will have a tent set up, and survivors and their families are invited.

Food will be hot dogs, chips, cookies and drinks. Some FHSU football tickets will be available for survivors, while supplies last.

Cossaart said she came up with the idea of the tailgate celebration following the Day of Caring last year.

Cancer survivors also will be asked to stand and be recognized at halftime.

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Tickets for the Day of Caring are available in Hays at the Cancer Council, Mam'Zelles, Doerfler's Harley-Davidson, Equity Bank, Bling on The Mall, FHSU Student Service Center, Hair Repair, HaysMed Breast Care Center, Dreiling/Schmidt Cancer Institute, Centennial Salon, Walgreen's, LaVonne's Beauty Shop in WaKeeney and Arthur's Pizza in Ellis.