FASHION SHOW RAISES MONEY FOR BREAST CANCER FOUNDATION
- Trish Yerges
- For The Observer
IMBLER Seniors at Imbler High School have a proud tradition of producing service-based senior projects. Such projects connect school to community.
Kelli Jo McKee, an IHS senior, is a recent example of that.
After a year of planning, McKee hosted a fashion show and cancer benefit auction on Oct. 7 at the Union County Fairgrounds. With help from family, friends and a responsive community, she raised more than $1,500 for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
McKee got the idea after observing a friend's grandmother go through treatment for breast cancer, and she wanted to incorporate breast cancer awareness into her Panthera project.
"So I went online in September of my junior year to find a breast cancer foundation that I could work with," McKee said.
That's when she discovered the Komen Foundation and its affiliates in Portland, Seattle and Spokane. The foundation provides funding for breast cancer research, education, screening and treatment especially for the medically under served.
Toni Mountain, coordinator for the Komen Foundation, became one of McKee's project mentors.
"She monitored my project throughout the entire year," said McKee.
Mountain provided information on the foundation, helped McKee fill out the donation paperwork and assisted in picking a date for the event. She was also present at McKee's fashion show to speak before an audience of 60 people.
All of this required a lot of organization on McKee's part.
"High-profile senior projects have to be run in a certain way, and they have to be successful," she said.
That's where her second project mentor came into the picture.
Carol Campbell, co-owner of McGlasson's Stationery of La Grande, assisted McKee with the business aspects of her project. An advertising campaign was organized. Flyers were donated by the Copy Club of La Grande and distributed, KCMB radio ads were run for two weeks prior to the event, and McKee's interview was published in The Observer.
The models were Katie Turley, Kelly Banzet, Debbie Henjum, Diane Higley, Sharon Porter, all of La Grande, and Mary West of Imbler.
Campbell also helped kick off the "Sponsor-A-Model" program and $500 was raised to help pay for the show expenses. Participating sponsors included McGlasson's, Leslie Berchem, Barbara Hicks, Serendipity, Red Cross Drugs, all of La Grande, and Kathy Davis of Summerville.
McKee personally made two of the six outfits modeled at the fashion show. Friends Bertie Harris and Sherry Nantz assisted with the sewing. Besides the clothing, other donations were sold at auction: a print by David Manuel matted by Dave Yerges of the Mitre's Touch Gallery; a handcrafted necklace and jewelry set by Tom Dimond; an Eric Valentine photo; a handcrafted breast cancer garden stone by Toni Mountain; a mammogram and rooftop lunch for two from Grande Ronde Hospital; two coffee mugs by David Waln; and a vase by Bob Jensen of the Potter's House. Additional raffle items were donated by Susan Lewis, Rod and Georgia McKee and McGlasson's Stationery.
The Union County Fair Board donated the use of the 4-H multi-purpose building for the event, and Heidi Hill of Union was the auctioneer. Decorations and equipment were donated or borrowed from OSU Extension, Imbler High School, Imbler FFA Chapter, Safeway, and from Lori, Jake and Paige Hines of La Grande.
McKee spent three days decorating the building with the help of friends Jhavanna Shaw and Britney Shaw of La Grande and Emilee Patterson and Aimee Patterson of Imbler.
Friends Marianne Sweeney, Betty Turley and Katie Turley of La Grande, and Aimee Patterson baked cookies. Marianne Zinzer of Grand Cuisine provided the hors d'oeuvres buffet at cost.
Of course, McKee feels she could not have been successful without the help of her parents, Rod and Georgia McKee, and sisters Kristy McKee and Cory Steele of La Grande who ran countless errands and filled in wherever they were needed.
McKee learned that it takes a supportive network of dependable people and a knowledge of community resources to pull off a fundraiser like this. But that's not all.
"There has to be a passion behind what you do," she said.
From all indications, McKee has what it takes.