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Survivors strut at Pink October fashion show
Yuba City breast cancer event sells out
Sue Miller pulled up the sleeve on her black Survivor T-shirt and showed five pink ribbon tattoos on her upper left arm.
The Yuba City resident and paralegal, one of 13 models on Monday at the Survivor Show and Dinner fundraiser that is part of Pink October to support breast cancer survivors, has added a ribbon each year since her diagnosis in 2007.
Miller stood in the hallway outside the room where models gathered and said she has been asked what happens when the ribbons reach end to end and she runs out of space.
"Somebody said, 'What do you do if you go all around?'" Miller recalled.
"I'm going to celebrate," the 56-year-old answered.
That's what she, the other models and about 400 people did at the sold-out event, where the first dance involved the 13 women entering St. Isidore's Parish Hall in Yuba City to the Katy Perry song "Firework."
Master of Ceremonies Diana Penna of KOVR Channel 13 News told the hundreds having dinner that the women who took to the stage to dance were the celebrities.
"Our models are the true stars today," Penna said. "Thirteen survivors strutting their stuff."
The event, in its 11th year, started in a back room at a restaurant along the same Clark Street where St. Isidore is located.
Larry Geweke, president of Geweke Auto Group and representing Pink October and Geweke's Caring for Women Foundation, welcomed people attending the fashion show and dinner.
"We came from humble beginnings at Ruthy's," he said. "Now, we're busting at the seams.
"Sometimes we don't know how we get through it all, but we do," Geweke added. "We're part of a magnificent community."
Janice Ray, who serves on the committee for the show and dinner, recalled what it's like to be part of the program. She was a model in 2009 and recalled the compassion and support she received. Whatever pre-performance jitters she felt vanished, Ray said.
"Once you step over that threshold," she said, "it all goes away."
Past events have included John Buckland — a lieutenant in the Yuba City Police Department before retiring and winning election to the City Council — riding into the hall on a motorcycle with one of the models. That got the attention of guests, recalled Buckland, who said the event's success is due in part to the fundraising helping this region.
"All of it stays here," he said.
Nancy Elrod, director of Pink October, said tears can be part of the Survivor Show as women tell their stories. She noted support from Beale Air Force Base, which provides volunteers to help with event.
Dennis Miller, 61, whose wife, Sue Miller, talked about her tattoos, has his own on his forearms so that when he hugs her, she can she see his support. Sue Miller spoke about how her husband went to every medical treatment she underwent and was waiting for her when she came out of chemotherapy. He went to dozens of appointments that could last as long as seven hours.
"Our family is everything," Dennis Miller said, not long before the fashion show began and his wife joined the other models on the stage.
Elrod said the dozen other women are impressed.
"Her husband," she said of Dennis Miller, "won Husband of the Year with all the models."
CONTACT Ryan McCarthy at email@example.com or 749-4780. Find him on Facebook at /ADrmccarthy or on Twitter at @ADrmccarthy.