'Secret Sisters' fundraiser packs Century Center

South Bend, Ind. An annual fundraiser in downtown South Bend stressed the importance of early cancer detection in style.

Nearly 900 people packed into the Century Center for the 12th annual Secret Sisters Society Luncheon and Style Show.

Cancer survivors -- and those still battling the disease -- modeled clothing made by local vendors and were escorted by a military or service member down the runway.

Proceeds from the event, which is organized by the Women's Task Force of St. Joseph Regional Medical Center, pay for mammograms for Michiana women between the ages of 40 and 49 who can't afford them.

“It literally can mean the difference between life and death,” explained Ann Rathburn-Lacopo, Chief Development Officer at SJRMC. “And so many women - they're working hard but they don't have health insurance or they may not even be able to pay the co-pay. So when you're a Secret Sister, you buy a membership, and you're donating money so that a woman who you'll probably never know and will never meet can have a life-saving mammogram.”

WNDU’s own Tricia Sloma served as the emcee of this year's event.

And Paqui Kelly, a two-time breast cancer survivor herself, was the honorary chair.

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