This year’s Easterseals Ladies’ Auxiliary Fashion Show will be held April 16 at the Par-A-Dice Hotel in East Peoria to help raise money for disabled and special-needs children.
The fashion show fundraiser began in 1955 when a small group of local women recognized a need to help children with disabilities and special needs obtain necessary services to reach their full potential. Now in its 64th year, the event has grown to include vendors from boutiques including Mary Kay Cosmetics, The Silk Road and The Little Clothing Company. It now also has 30 volunteer models showing fashions from designers like Belle Mie, Brighton, Men’s Wearhouse, Running Central and A Perfect Pear Boutique. The event will include separate lunch and dinner fashion shows.
Doors will open for the lunchtime fashion show at 10:30 a.m. and lunch will be served at noon. The evening event will begin at 5 p.m. and dinner will be served at 6:30 p.m. Tickets for the lunchtime show are $35 and dinner tickets are $45. For more information, visit www.easterseals.com/ci.
“Over the last 64 years of doing these fashion shows, the Ladies’ Auxiliary has raised more than $1 million for Easterseals,” said Megan Pedigo, director of marketing for Easterseals Central Illinois.
“The show has a couple of really unique features,” Pedigo added. “First of all, it incorporates an Easterseals family. With it being on a Tuesday and having the lunch option and having it be such an affordable price, it really is a great opportunity to come and have lunch in the middle of a work day, see a good show and support these women who are doing awesome things and working all year round to help the kids and Easterseals. Just by attending, you’re supporting the services Easterseals provides. The dinner event, again being on a Tuesday, gives people the opportunity to get out in the middle of the week.”
The Ladies Auxiliary incorporates families using Easterseals services by naming children with special needs as ambassador. An Easterseals Central Illinois ambassador for this year ambassador is Waylon Harmon, 2, of Tulon, Ill. Harmon suffers from spina bifida and has been receiving physical therapy since he was 7 months old. Harmon will be a special guest at the event.
“With the help of his Easterseals therapist Carolyn (Siobieski), Waylon has made life-changing progress,” said Pedigo. “Just this year, Waylon’s mom watched as he used his walker to walk toward her for the very first time. Waylon is on the move, and he is not stopping.”
All proceeds from the event will go to Easterseals Central Illinois, allowing the organization to continue providing services for area children with special needs and their families. Last year, according to Pedigo, Easterseals Central Illinois helped over 5,800 area families and performed more than 30,000 hours of physical, speech, occupational and developmental therapy, as well as autism services and applied behavior analysis. The organization also offers diagnostic, technology and equipment clinics.
“(The clinics) help kids if they need to get hold of a tablet, or they need speech software or if they need to be fitted for some orthotics or for braces or get wheelchairs with the functions they need,” she said. “It’s a pretty wide range — really, anything we can do to help kids reach their full potential.”