Sold-out Bistro Soleil packed for fashion show benefiting cancer society

Sue Keller

The seventh annual fashion show and luncheon benefiting the Marco Island American Cancer Society has special meaning for guest emcee Patrick Nolan from Fox 4 News, who has volunteered to be master of ceremonies the last seven years.

Breast cancer survivor Joyce McFarland, owner of Marco Clothing Company, prepares for the seventh annual fashion show at Bistro Soleil to raise funds for the American Cancer Society.

"It's fashion, it's beautiful food, but it's also about people caring for people," said Nolan. "On Marco Island you see that more than anywhere in the world."

The fashion show and luncheon started in 2009 when Lisa Meurgue's friend Joyce Mc Farland, owner of Marco Clothing Company, after hearing Meurgue's diagnosis of breast cancer, came to see her wanting to do something for her.

"So here we are today," said Meurgue.

At the end of October, Lisa called Joyce to discuss planning the upcoming fashion show. Meurgue told her that since last summer, 12 women she knows have been diagnosed with breast cancer and nine of them are on Marco Island.

"To my surprise, Joyce announced she was No. 10," said Meurgue, her voice shaking. "What a twist of fate, that my friend who started all this to help me was now sharing her concerns, fears and hopes with me."

Not sure whether this year's fashion show would go forward they waited to see how Joyce was feeling with her treatment and recovery. Joyce was determined if she was feeling well they would do it.

"And here we are," Meurgue told the sold-out audience.

Many attending the luncheon at Bistro Soleil to benefit the Marco Island Cancer Society have been to every fundraiser for the past seven years. Many were there, when breast cancer survivor, Lisa Meurgue, was going through chemo and radiation and wearing a wig.

Now eight years later, Meurgue announced, " I feel great! I can't tell you what it means to stand here in front of you as a survivor. Thank you thank you thank you."

This is the first time the show has had a male modeling with the ladies. Aaron is also a long time friend of Lisa. They worked together in Mexico more than 25 years ago and made contact two years ago. They found one another on Facebook and have lived 30 minutes away from each other for over 20 years.

After her diagnosis, Meurgue says she never asked why me? Sometimes she thinks, yes me, because she had never been shy or afraid to share her story and is there to share comfort and a listening ear to someone who hears the word's no one ever wants to hear, "You've got cancer."

Amy Wegmann also with Fox News was invited to come along as co-emcee with Nolan.

Lisa Meurgue stands with Patrick Nolan.

"I've been touched by breast cancer and other forms within my family and friends, so to be able to give back and have some fun it just means the world to me," said Wegmann.

The Calusa Garden Club volunteered to do all the centerpieces for the luncheon; Nancy Carrington from Marco Island Florist also helped out.