SUBSCRIBE NOW

Marco ACS: It pays to 'Fight Like a Girl'

Marco Island American Cancer Society raises more than $9,000 for Relay for Life during annual luncheon and fashion show event

Lisa Conley
lisa.conley@naplesnews.com; 239-213-5308

Jada Shigley didn't think she'd be able to model in last year's Marco Island American Cancer Society's fashion show; after all, it was just two weeks after her breast cancer surgery. But, thanks to the support of her family, friends and other patients and survivors in the area, she found the strength to go on, which is why she didn't hesitate to say yes when volunteers from the society asked her to be in this year's show,

The models, including Jada Shigley (middle), get ready to hit the runway during the Marco Island American Cancer Society's annual "Fight Like a Girl" luncheon and fashion show Tuesday, March 7 at Bistro Soleil. The event raises money for Relay for Life, which is April 1 at Veterans Community Park.

"I feel like I have a duty to talk about what I went through and share my story," she said. "I never had a mammogram before I was diagnosed, and if I didn't get one when I did, who knows if I'd even be here talking to you today?"

Every year the Marco Island American Cancer Society hosts a "Fight Like a Girl" fashion show and luncheon to raise money for Relay for Life. This year's fashion show, the society's ninth, was a jam-packed event at Bistro Soleil.

The fashion show and luncheon began in 2009 when Lisa Meurgue was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her friend Joyce McFarland, owner of Marco Clothing Company, wanted to do something to help, and the two came up with the idea of hosting a fashion show featuring survivors as the models.

Lisa Meurgue (left) and Joyce McFarland, founders of the Marco Island American Cancer Society's "Fight Like a Girl" luncheon and fashion show, share their stories with the event's attendees on Tuesday, March 7 at Bistro Soleil. The fashion show raises money for Relay for Life, which is April 1 at Veterans Community Park.

In a cruel twist of fate, McFarland was also later diagnosed with breast cancer.

"This show blossomed from our friendship and our love and support for each other during a very difficult time in our lives," Meurgue said.

Now the show helps spread that love and support to other fighters, survivors, caregivers, family members, friends and anyone who's been effected by cancer. And unfortunately, Meurgue has been effected by cancer beyond her own diagnosis.

"My father was diagnosed with cancer and my sister lost her battle with cancer in 2006," she told the event's attendees during an emotional opening speech.

A model shows off a "dressy casual" look during the Marco Island American Cancer Society's "Fight Like a Girl" luncheon and fashion show on Tuesday, March 7 at Bistro Soleil. The fashion show raises money for Relay for Life, which is April 1 at Veterans Community Park.

The luncheon also featured presentations by various members of the community, including Marie Benson – a tattoo artist who creates what looks like a 3-D image of a female areola and nipple for breast cancer survivors who've had mastectomies  – and Kerri Lampos of Revival Yoga, who shared with the group the health benefits of yoga.

The event raised $9,800 for Relay for Life, but Meurgue said donations are still pouring in from those who were unable to attend.

IF YOU GO

Marco Island Relay for Life

When: April 1, 4 - 10 p.m.

Where: Veterans Community Park, 901 Park Ave.

Information: Sue Olszak, sue.olszak@cancer.org or (239) 642-8800