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Fashion, Food and Fundraising – The Power of Women Networking

Nothing like strong women and a strong cup of darjeerling to shake things up! How one women's fight aganist a mysterious diease brought a group of women together for food, fashion, and a little tea!

“A woman is like a tea bag; you never know how strong it is until it's in hot water,” said Eleanor Roosevelt.

Well, this past Friday evening, I was honored to join over 300 women as they showed just how strong they are. There was strength in numbers as they gathered for a Fashion Show and Tea to lend support to those suffering from Lupus. 

This second annual event was held at the elegant Empress Room at St. Helena’s in Blue Bell. It was organized and hosted by Dawn Rieder, a Lupus patient herself, who aims to educate others on the symptoms, treatments and challenges of living with Lupus. As a friend and witness to her living with Lupus, I am in awe of how she strives to live life each day to its fullest, despite her own daily pain.

The unstoppable spirit of Rieder brought out the generosity and can-do attitudes of dozens of local business women. I witnessed women with diverse business backgrounds donate time and services to fight for a cause. It was impressive to see the almost 100 raffles and silent auction prizes and hundreds of hopeful women with raffle tickets. The donations offered a little bit of everything from floral arrangements to massages, spa treatments, life coaching, cooking classes, jewelry, handbags, wine, art and more.  

Three lovely young ladies provided classical music through the harp and violin. For visual entertainment, The Dress Barn of Norristown and Charlotte Russe of King of Prussia provided casual and dressy fashions for us to “ooh and ah” at. We models were adorned with jewelry from Premier Design and bags from Thirty One. But, despite the fun and festivity in the air, as a model moving through the room, I could feel the power of women working in synergy. It was overwhelming and beautiful.

These women came to be a part of the event simply through the art of networking. As a friend of Dawn and owner of my own small business, HIP Chicks, I turned to my many contacts and rallied the troops. From just my group of connections, we had wonderful specialty teas donated from The Tea
Can Company
, custom brochures printed from Centennial Blueprint and models made more gorgeous by Mary Kay magic. Dawn used her contacts from school and community to pull in generous sponsors like TD Bank, Produce Junction and the Rheumatic Disease Associates. Simply by asking for the generosity of others, we amassed a circle of support and funds to work toward a cure.

It was truly moving to see the fruition of one woman’s idea and determination to give back to those who share her same journey. The many friends of the Rieders networked and volunteered to pull all the pieces together to make for a memorable evening to raise money and awareness for this life-changing disease.  There's nothing like a strong cup of tea and group of strong women!

In 2011, with the support of area businesses and private volunteers, Rieder was one of the highest private donors to the Philadelphia Tri-State Lupus Foundation collecting over $8,000. It was the result of fundraising from the
fashion show and tea and her running team’s contributions to the Lupus Loop. The Loop is an annual 5K race in Fairmount Park, drawing thousands of runners. This year the race is on Oct. 28. Donations to Team Rieder can be made through the online campaign or by signing up to run the Loop with the team. Take time to read about the signs and symptoms of lupus and show your support.  
See you at the Loop!

Beth Allen is owner of HIP Chicks. To learn more, visit www.diyhipchicks.com.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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