Strands of Strength

By Wicker Van Orsdel

Spring is a heart full of hope and a shoe full of rain—or rainbows! This past Wednesday was a bit cool and cloudy with a strong chance of crappiness, but what better way to immunize against the spring fever welling in us all than to attend the third annual Strands of Strength fundraising luncheon at Glen Oaks Country Club?

Once again, it was a sell-out event (this year, I remembered to get there early so I could park my car within Polk County!) The clubhouse was teeming with lovely ladies, all complementing each other on their wardrobe choices. It was a wonderful afternoon to catch up with all the snowbirds who have returned from their Florida and Arizona decampments and touch base with all the people we haven’t seen all winter long.

The women and men who attended came to support Deb Pulver, a cancer survivor, who teamed up with hairdressers and local wig specialists to launch Strands of Strength two years ago. The nonprofit offers vouchers to cancer patients in need of quality wigs to help reduce the stigma of hair loss and help them develop a positive healing attitude.

During the social hour, we were greeted at the door with “Sweet Charity” cocktails created expressly for this event; they were popular and addictive (though not for the calorie conscious!). Subsequently, we were ushered into the clubhouse dining room, where the tables were decorated with beautiful springy picnic baskets of flowers. The menu was just the right amount of guilt-free lunch fare — I loved the chicken salad!

Attendees included many cancer survivors, and Deb Pulver welcomed us all. She recounted the story of her battle with cancer and the realization that she was not going to escape losing her hair after chemotherapy. She then introduced her surgeon and friend, honorary guest Dr. Thomas Buroker, a distinguished Des Moines oncologist. He was wonderful, engaging—and brief!  Stan Reynolds, in his glib, legendary and inimitable style, conducted the auction. One thing the ace auction committee really did right was to keep it down to four fabulous items: a Mini-Cooper lease; a dinner for eight prepared by David Baruthio, chef/owner of Baru 66; a shopping and dining package in Des Moines; and a shopping excursion for eight to Chicago, jet trip included. Ooh la la! Linda Shevlin won the paddle battle on that one, but all the items were snapped up like pricey hotcakes.

Flynn -Wright designed the logo and the invites for Strands of Strength, and Bill and Susan Benskin of Printer’s Inc. donated the printing. Kudos to them for their great community support. Bob Pulver underwrote the entire luncheon, so all the money raised that afternoon went toward the purchase of more than 300 wigs! Thanks to Bob for such a generous gift, and thanks to Deb Pulver for her courage and inspiration to so many. Hats off to you!

Check out my photos and click on the smugmug link to see more. 


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