By JUDY SHERARD
It's called a Day of Caring, but it's also a day of pampering.
The 19th annual Day of Caring featuring a brunch and fashion show is Oct. 4 in the Fort Hays State University Memorial Union. Display booths are open from 9 to 10 a.m., followed by a brunch and fashion show from 10 a.m. to noon.
Twenty-one models from the area, who just happen to be cancer survivors, will walk down the runway this year wearing clothes from area businesses.
Christin Borchers, 31, is the youngest of the models, said Paula Flesher, executive director of the Cancer Council of Ellis County.
Borchers, who was diagnosed a year ago, learned about the event serendipitously.
"We met her last year at the model party the night before," said Janet Pfanenstiel, co-chairwoman of this year's event. "The models get their nails done the night before at Hays Hair Academy, (and) she was there getting a haircut. She just happened to be there at the same time that we had started our party, and she joined us because she was newly diagnosed."
Borchers attended Day of Caring last year, "and it was a lot of fun. This year I get to be a model as a survivor."
"It's important for those who've been diagnosed with cancer to have a good support team," said Pfanenstiel, a four-year survivor and third-year model. "This is just a fun thing that we as survivors get to do. We're still pretty. We're still fashionable, even though we've gone through chemo. We've gone through surgeries. We don't have all the parts we used to have, (but) we can still be pretty and go down the runways with confidence."
Borchers said she didn't feel so alone after last year's event.
"I went home feeling full of hope," she said. "I saw all those survivors up there modeling, and I got to read their story. I thought if they can do it, I can do it."
One of this year's models is a 26-year survivor, Flesher said.
"Those numbers are powerful. It gives us hope knowing that," said Judy Stegman, Day of Caring co-chairwoman.
Some businesses donate the clothes the models wear, and others donate items for the models' gift bags, Flesher said.
"This is not a money-maker for us. It's educational," she said.
"It's a day to pamper those models and let people know just because we have cancer, we don't live cancer. We have a life beyond cancer," said Stegman, who's been in remission for three years.
Though there aren't any male models this year, there have been, and men are welcome to attend, Flesher said.
This year's theme is the Power of Pink, and Ashley Bauck, nurse navigator at HaysMed Breast Cancer Center, is the speaker.
Prairie Rose Harmony also will perform.
Tickets are $18 per person and must be purchased in advance.
They're available at the Cancer Council of Ellis County, Mam'Zelles, FHSU student service center, Hair Repair, HaysMed Breast Care Center, Dreiling/Schmidt Cancer Institute, Walgreen's, LaVonne's Beauty Shop in WaKeeney and Arthur's Pizza in Ellis. The deadline to purchase tickets is Monday.