Dazzled crowd: Event raises more than $42,000

By Erika Pedroza | Published Saturday, April 12, 2014

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The Dazzle Me Pink luncheon and fashion show fundraiser, organized by the Wise Regional Health Foundation, never fails to astonish.

Members of the community show up in throngs to the annual event, held at the Decatur Civic Center. Their donations to Mary’s Gift and Women’s Health Services at Wise Regional, through the live auction, raffle or pledges, help provide free mammograms to underserved women throughout Wise County.

Dazle Me Sylvia

DAZZLE ME SYLVIA – Sylvia Elenburg wowed the crowd at the 5th Annual Dazzle Me Pink luncheon and fashion show Wednesday when she removed her wig, exposing her bald head. She has been cancer-free since the end of March. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

At this year’s event Wednesday, monetary donations may have taken a backseat to a bold move on the runway by Sylvia Elenburg of Bridgeport.

Representing Wise Regional Health System’s Bridgeport Auxiliary and modeling clothing from Bealls, Elenburg whipped off her wig as she made her way down the runway, exposing a bald head speckled with tufts of hair – a sign of regrowth.

“I wanted it to be encouraging to ladies who have gone through this or are going through this,” the breast cancer survivor said. “Life is beautiful, and hair is just a minor thing.”

YOUNG MODELS – Bo Monroe Taylor, 21 months, and Hallie Washburn, 7, were among the many models in the Dazzle Me Pink fashion show. Bo is the daughter of Josh and Penny Taylor. Hallie is the daughter of Laurie and Steve Washburn. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Elenburg was diagnosed with breast cancer in October of 2013.

“It was very sudden and out of the blue,” she said.

After detecting an abnormality in her right breast, she scheduled an appointment with her doctor in Bridgeport, who sent her to a specialist in Denton.

After a series of tests, doctors found traces of the disease in both breasts.

“They told me to find a good oncologist so I started seeing a doctor at UT Southwestern in Dallas,” she said.

In late October, Elenburg began an aggressive chemotherapy regimen. She underwent treatment every three weeks and would have a PET scan after three cycles.

“The first scan was extremely encouraging, showing the treatment was effective,” Elenburg said.

But the second PET scan at the end of March delivered even greater news – after just six months of treatment, Elenburg is cancer-free.

“It was a whirlwind,” she said. “It just happens out of the blue, and you go through all the different emotions – shock, fear of what’s going to happen.

“But if you have faith in God and you surround yourself with loved ones, it’s pretty easy to stay encouraged.”

For now, she continues every three weeks to undergo maintenance therapy, an intravenous procedure she lightheartedly refers to as her “booster shot.”

It’s that sense of humor that helped her along the journey – and inspired the wig-removing move at the fundraiser Wednesday.

“I did it to celebrate the good news and hopefully encourage ladies who are facing or have faced this battle,” she said. “For some crazy reason, we get all caught up in losing our hair. But it’s such a minor issue.

“Being courageous and having faith is the main thing,” she continued. “Hair is a small byproduct that’s really not that big of a deal.”

Courage, on the other hand, is huge.

“We were all so thrilled that she had the courage to do that,” said Michelle Stone, WRHS foundation director. “That lends a touch of what we’re there for … for the survivors.”

At the event, which was in its fifth installment, organizers revealed a check in the amount of $41,011. However, Stone said additional donations came in after the event, bringing the total to $42,000.

The amount is less than last year’s record-setting total of $62,013.

“But we had a $25,000 donation that put us way higher,” Stone said. “Year after year, this community takes care of its fellow members. I’m so thankful for that.”

Generous Donation

GENEROUS DONATION – Wednesday’s Dazzle Me Pink event raised more than $42,000 for for Mary’s Gift and Women’s Health Services to help provide free mammograms to underserved women in Wise County. Although the check is written for $41,011, Wise Regional Health System Foundation Director Michelle Stone said additional donations trickled in after the event. Pictured are some of the foundation directors (from left) Andrew Rottner, Donna Stowers, Stone, Colleen Walker, Marianne Henderson, Kevin Haney, Jeff Sicking, WFAA meteorologist Colleen Coyle and Jeremy House, a former board member. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

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