Local supporters also honored for their contributions to cancer care in Southwest Florida

Fashionistas and philanthropists united for an afternoon of entertainment and fundraising at the 13th annual Colors of the Sea Fashion Show, raising $98,000 to benefit the Regional Cancer Center’s Integrative Medicine Program. The midday affair featured an awards luncheon, benefit auction, and fashion show, and was held last month at the Landings Yacht, Golf & Tennis Club, Fort Myers. Local models sported stylish apparel provided by retailers at Sanibel Outlets, Razzle Dazzle and House of Wu. 

Lee Health and Regional Cancer Center recognized four individuals and one school that made significant contributions to cancer care in Southwest Florida and offered unwavering support to individuals undergoing cancer treatments.  

“Having volunteers, family members, friends and the community here to support our cancer patients is so important in their journey,” said Dennis Bruens, vice president for oncology at Lee Health. “It’s our absolute pleasure to honor these heroes that are so important to our patients.” 

Honorees include: 

  • Paula Buchanan, who received the Guardian Award for a family member supporting a cancer patient through treatment. Buchanan left her career in Michigan and moved to Florida with her young son after the death of her husband to care for family during her sister’s treatment for breast cancer. 
  • Monica Dunkley, who received the Angel Award for a non-family member supporting a cancer patient through treatment. Dunkley facilitates the caregiver’s support group at the Regional Cancer Center.  
  • Karen Dias, who received the Big Heart Award for a cancer survivor who has given back to the community. Dias volunteers to support the Regional Cancer Center fundraisers even as she continues her own treatment for ovarian cancer.  
  • Crestwell School, which received the Pediatric Angel Award. The students and faculty held a penny drive that raised $5,000 for Barbara’s Friends to help kids with cancer at Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida 
  • Tommie Schott, who received the Phoenix Award for a community member who has contributed to reshaping cancer care in Southwest Florida. Schott has served as volunteer coordinator, spearheading the Designer Purse Bingo fundraisers and has helped secure corporate sponsorships and silent auction items, as well as provided financial support for the annual fashion show 

 “This is my favorite day of the year, when we can award the ‘angels of our oncology community for their whole-hearted, loving commitment to cancer care on behalf of everyone that is empowered as a result of their dedication,” said Valerie Butram, oncology outreach education coordinator at Lee Health. 

For information on supporting the Regional Cancer Center, visit LeeHealthFoundation.org/RegionalCancerCenter. 

About Regional Cancer Center  

Established in 2008, Lee Health’s Regional Cancer Center keeps care close to home through a collaboration between Lee Health, 21st Century Oncology and Florida Cancer Specialists to provide high quality cancer treatment. With comprehensive oncology services, the latest technology, physician specialists and experienced staff all in one place, patients receiving care at RCC experience health care outcomes that exceed those of most cancer centers in Florida. Visit LeeHealthFoundation.org/RegionalCancerCenter or call (239) 343-6950 for more information.