Annual fashion show holds special meaning for local store - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Annual fashion show holds special meaning for local store


They've raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for local cancer patients over the years.  On Wednesday,  Stephenson's of Elkhart holds their annual "United for Fashion" Fashion Show.

This year, the cause hits particularly close to home.  The woman who helped create it, Marje Reynolds, is battling cancer again, but she is one self-proclaimed "tough cookie."

"I began working in a department store in Lafayette when I was a teenager," says Marje.  That's when her life-time in retail began.  "I've never personally been a clothes hound, but I've always thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed displaying."

A 74-year-old, who was drawn into retail by the "artsy" side.  One who has spent a life-time helping women look and feel great about themselves in new clothes.  She's better known by countless cancer survivors, as the woman who helped create Stephenson's Annual United for Fashion Show, 18 years ago.  This year, the show is very personal, as Marje once again, battles breast cancer.  She says, "I hadn't felt it might come back for a number of years.  I thought I was in the clear years ago." 

Marje has taken on cancer before.  Twenty years ago she battled hormone receptive breast cancer.  A couple of months ago, she became suspicious during a self exam.  Doctors say she has a different type this time, triple negative.  She recently had a double mastectomy and will start chemo Thursday, the day after the show that has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for local cancer patients,

Marje says, "I think after that first round, I should be able to do the anniversary windows, but, just in case."  While she's not looking forward to chemo, she is incredibly upbeat and hasn't let it slow her down, even the day of her mastectomy.  "My daughter-in-law said I came, woke up saying, 'Oh, I can move my hands and arms.  I can dye shoes today, if I had to.'  Pretty inspirational for those, like her sons, who work alongside her in the family business.

Her son, Chris Reynolds says,"She was back to work within days and I don't know of anybody that would do that, including myself."  Danny Reynolds adds, "It's therapeutic.  She gets herself immersed in here from the get-go in the morning and I think it keeps her physically active. It keeps her mentally active.  It probably keeps her mind from going where maybe it doesn't need to go."

 They believe the timing, so close to this year's fashion show,  is a blessing.  Chris says, "I think with the camaraderie with other people who have gone through it and become friends of the store and her., I think it's very helpful in a big way."  Good wishes and moral support for a woman who has done the same thing for so many.  A tough German, as she calls herself, determined to be a two-time survivor.

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