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Fashion show to combat breast cancer gears up for 2013 event

Published September 7, 2013 4:56 pm

Walking strong • Annual event stresses the importance of cancer screenings.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

After three rounds of chemotherapy to treat breast cancer, 40-year-old Pilar Cassio felt drained, sallow and a shell of herself.

"You feel devastated," she said recently. "I said, 'Why me?' It's the normal question for everybody."

Two years after her last treatment, a spin on a catwalk with nearly a dozen other breast cancer survivors marked a turnaround for Cassio, originally from Peru. She walked tall, she said, at the Pink Dress Fashion Show hosted by Comunidades Unidas.

The annual event helps get the word out to Utah's Latina community about the importance of screenings to detect breast and cervical cancer.

For this year's event Oct. 25, 10 designers will show up with five dresses each for breast cancer survivors to model on the runway.

A fresh haircut, manicure, makeup and new clothes recharge self-esteem, Cassio said. It sends a message to women battling cancer: "You are a wonderful woman in this world and you need to live happy. And how you feel inside, that is more important. You need to feel light in your heart."

Vicky Fuentes, who studied fashion at Salt Lake Community College, brought the first show forward in 2010.

"My dream is that one day, we can raise money to provide those screenings," said Fuentes, the organization's Latina women's health coordinator. —

Pink Dress Fashion Show

When • Friday, Oct. 25, doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Where • Grand Hall at the Gateway.

Tickets • $35; or $45 VIP tickets that include a drink, reserved seats and two raffle tickets; pinkdress@cuutah.org or 801-487-4143.

Help • Guests can sponsor a ticket for a community member by donating an additional $20.