Fashion show raises nearly $61,000 for Lee Health Cancer Institute

Awards recognizing significant contributions to cancer care in Southwest Florida were presented

FORT MYERS, Fla. (March 19, 2024) The Lee Health Cancer Institute Fashion Show and Luncheon held March 12 at Heritage Palms Golf and Country Club in Fort Myers raised nearly $61,000 to benefit the Lee Health Cancer Institute. The event featured an awards luncheon, benefit auction and fashion show.  

“This annual event is a celebration of supporters of the fight against cancer, both with fundraising and awards,” said Dera Wilson, Lee Health’s vice president of operations for Lee Health Cancer Institute. “We are grateful for those who step alongside patients in their battle and for those who step up to provide financial support for expansion of cancer services. This event also wouldn’t happen without the support of retail partners who provide fashion each year.”

Attendees had opportunities to bid on dozens of silent auction baskets that included gift certificates, cruises, food and wine, electronics, rounds of golf, hotel stays, spa treatments, fashion accessories, jewelry, chocolate and more.

The lively fashion show featured contemporary and stylish apparel modeled by residents and provided by Razzle Dazzle of Cape Coral, House of Wu of Fort Myers, Dillard’s Edison Mall, Fort Myers and Chico’s at Daniels Marketplace in Fort Myers.

Sponsors included: Centerpiece Sponsors B&I Contractors and Seminole Casino Hotel, and Award Sponsors Advocate Radiation Oncology and Priority Marketing. In 2023, the event raised more than $47,000 to benefit the expansion of Lee Health Cancer Institute services for south Lee County and Collier County residents and visitors.

Also at the event, Lee Health recognized individuals who have made significant contributions to cancer care in Southwest Florida by offering unwavering support to individuals undergoing cancer treatments.

Awards included:

  • Lisa Emma for the Angel Award recognizing a non-family member supporting a cancer patient through treatment. Anthony and Lisa Emma are founders of the KOVA Foundation, which created a partnership with Lee Health Cancer Institute and launched Emma’s Wish in 2022. Since it was started, they have granted nine wishes for stage VI metastatic breast cancer patients to help create memories for the patient and their loved ones.
  • Amy Burge and Steve Barroso for the Guardian Award recognizing a family member supporting a cancer patient through treatment. Burge is single mom to Owen, 6, who was treated for leukemia at age 3 and has been cancer free for a year. Burge, an advocate for children with cancer, has supported and promoted many events, including Clips for Cancer, Barbara’s Friends, ROCK (Reaching Out to Cancer Kids), American Cancer Society Relay for Life and more.  Steve Barroso received the award for supporting his wife during treatment. Ana “Anny” Romero was diagnosed with stage 4 Double-hit b-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2022. Romero received an honorable mention for Barroso’s nomination of her, recognizing her for connecting with staff, writing songs for everyone, her community involvement and her book, “L.I.F.E.-Living is For Everyone,” about living every day to the fullest.
  • Dr. Arie Dosoretz for the Phoenix Award recognizing a community member who through education or development of new resources has contributed to reshaping cancer care in the community. Dosoretz founded Advocate Radiation Oncology in 2019 and is a champion for cancer prevention and treatment, partnering with organizations like Golisano Children’s Hospital, American Cancer Society, Cancer Alliance Network and Partners for Breast Cancer Care on fundraising initiatives and providing pro bono services worth $1.2 million to 66 cancer patients through United Way’s WeCare program. He is developing Southwest Florida Proton in Estero, the first proton therapy center on Florida’s west coast, which will provide cancer patients with industry-leading technology, innovative cancer care and world-class radiation oncologists.
  • Tea Cart volunteers Jane Balfour, Connie Martinez and Nancy Roberts for the Big Heart Award recognizing cancer survivors who give back to the community. The cancer survivors staff the Tea Cart at the Lee Health Cancer Institute, providing complimentary tea, treats and cards with words of affirmation to 60 to 80 people per week, including staff, cancer patients and families.

For more information about the Lee Health Cancer Institute or to donate, visit

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