Shannon Preston has always considered herself to be Shannon Preston “a pretty tough cookie”She said breast cancer has been her greatest test of strength. She will be joining other survivors on the Haute Pink runway. fashion showWorkPlay, October 14. Photo courtesy Forge Breast Cancer Survivor Center.
By Emily Williams-Robertshaw
IForge Breast Cancer Survivor Center has launched a fundraiser to honor patients and survivors in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Haute Pink is a fashion show designed to inspire those affected by cancer and raise awareness for Forge’s mission to build a community of survivors and volunteers to help patients navigate their breast cancer journey.
The event will take place Oct. 14 at WorkPlay, with 10 of Forge’s clients and volunteers walking the runway wearing customized fashions created by Birmingham designers.
Shannon Preston will be one such woman.
When Preston was diagnosed with breast cancer Sept. 1, 2020, it wasn’t completely unexpected.
“I had found a lump in my breast and had a mammogram and ultrasound that week, and none of the initial reports seemed good,”The Vestavia Hills resident was a former resident.
She now realizes that it is not a good sign for a doctor to tell you that he wants to talk to you about your results.
“I have always thought of myself as a pretty tough cookie, and breast cancer has tested my strength more than anything else, and to be honest, my emotional strength the most,”She spoke.
Preston said that while she can’t see the finish line after her surgeries, she can feel the lasting effects it will have on her daily life.
“There were (and still are) many evenings when the tears would come and the fear would overwhelm me, but (my husband) was always right there,”She spoke. “He has weathered this crazy storm with me, and I know I could not be where I am today without him.”
Preston wed her husband Steve on Christmas Day 2019.
They moved to Fairhope in February of 2012. She left her job as CEO of the Alabama Association of Nonprofits, and she took on the role of executive vice-president of Infirmary Health’s infirmary foundations.
Preston had a long relationship with Forge for many years before she was diagnosed with cancer. Forge Executive director Lauren Roberts was a friend and a client during her time with the association.
“My job was to help them be the best they could be and be strategic thinkers,”She spoke. “Little did we know that I would soon be reaching out as a newly diagnosed woman that needed to talk. For that, I will always be thankful.”
Collaboration is key
Formerly the Women’s Breast Health Fund, Forge Breast Cancer Survivor Center was launched in 2016 as a collaborative pilot project with Ascension St. Vincent’s, UAB Hospital, Brookwood Baptist Medical Center and Grandview Medical Center. The goal was to provide support services for patients, survivors, and their loved ones throughout the entire cancer journey.
The organization offers customized survivorship programs and mentor programs. It also connects to resources such as professional counseling, support groups, health and wellness classes, and transportation to medical appointments.
“So many people’s lives are touched and changed by breast cancer every day,”She spoke. “I am so thankful for all the women that have walked this journey before me and created organizations like Forge so we never have to walk alone.”
Preston will be seen on the runway wearing fashions by Kenya B. The Birmingham native and graduate of the University of Alabama’s Apparel Design program has showcased her work in fashionShows throughout South and, most recently in 2020 New York Fashion Week.
The showForge volunteers, clients and advocates will also be featured.
Supporters can donate to the cause in honor of one of this year’s model/designerStart your own fundraising team or join one of the existing teams in memory of someone you care about.
For more information, visit hautepink.swell.gives.