On Friday, February 21, 2020 more than 75 people gathered at the Harbert Center for the first ever You Are Beautiful Luncheon and Fashion Show, hosted by Gretchen B Photography and J. Wigs. This event exceeded the organizers’ initial fundraising goal, raising over $10,000. All proceeds went to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama (BCRFA) to futher their mission of funding life-saving breast cancer research in Alabama.
The event was envisioned by Gretchen Birdwell of Gretchen B Photography and Jodi Johnston of J. Wigs. They were discussing some of their clients, friends and family members who had battled or were battling breast cancer and wanted to create an event to showcase the bravery and determination of these women and their inner and outer beauty. They also wanted to help them and others who will face the disease. They discussed their idea with Moutain Brook boutique B. Prince, Chandrel Wright-Richardson with the Harbert Center, and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama, and their vision was formalized and put in motion.
“The Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama was thrilled to partner with J Wigs and Gretchen B Photography on the inaugural You Are Beautiful Fashion Show and Luncheon at the Harbert Center,” said Beth Davis, Executive Director of the BCRFA. “In addition to raising money for research, raising spirits and hope among the models and attendees was also an event goal.”
Seven women who were either breast cancer survivors or are currently undergoing breast cancer treatment were identified to participate in the 2020 event: Katheryne Brugge, Gloria Buie, Jill Carter, Sara Foust, Laura Hinton, Amy Passey, and Angela Taylor. Catherine Patterson from WBRC was the emcee of the event and Michael Matheny acted as auctioneer.
“I enjoyed participating because it was raising money for research to find a cure and improving the lives of women with breast cancer,” said Laura Hinton. “I did not know what to expect and was greatly surprised by my emotions. Being with other woment who have mostly gone through some of the same fears and disbelief that I had, ‘yes, we had breast cancer.’ Sharing our stories with each other and being together created a very special bond.”
At the event, the models sashayed down the runway wearing outfits from B. Prince after having their hair and makeup professionally styled. Guests were able to participate in a live auction where they could bid on framed portraits of the models, taken during a personal photo shoot with Gretchen B Photography. The models had the opportunity to take home their photograph and the winning bidder walked away with a credit for their own photography session with Gretchen B.
2020 You Are Beautiful Sponsors included: CerFlux, Mayer Electric, Petra Risk Management Solutions, Regions, and Renewal by Andersen.
According to Davis, “Several of the models in the fashion show shared how much fun they had picking out clothes at B Prince, having hair and makeup done by J Wigs and ThirtyOne 30, and then having a photo shoot with Gretchen B Photography. At the luncheon itself, they had the opportunity to form friendships with other survivors as they prepared for the fashion show. Those friendships and their portraits will be something they carry with them into the future.”
Many have been touched in some way by breast cancer and research is the key to finding new treatments and ultimately a cure for this disease. Gretchen B Photography, J. Wigs, and the BCRFA are already making plans for the next You Are Beautiful Luncheon that will help fund research and save lives.
Click here to read Gretchen Birdwell’s blog post about this great event.