Celebrating life with fashion: Local cancer survivor Nancy Vista is chairwoman of Belles, Baubles and Burlap to benefit Friends of Caroline Hospice

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By Wendy Pollitzer

Nancy Harris Vista is no stranger to the Lowcountry. A businesswoman, a philanthropist and a stalwart member of the Port Royal community since 1992, Vista embraces the art of giving back.

And now, a breast cancer survivor, she wants to celebrate her journey and reciprocate her appreciation for life

Sharon Dwyer, left, director of Friends of Caroline Hospice, stands with Nancy Vista — chairwoman of Belles, Baubles and Burlap, Fashion for Compassion — at a recent Island Girls Night Out at Nancy’s store, Nuances, located at 918 8th Street in Port Royal.
Sharon Dwyer, left, director of Friends of Caroline Hospice, stands with Nancy Vista — chairwoman of Belles, Baubles and Burlap, Fashion for Compassion — at a recent Island Girls Night Out at Nancy’s store, Nuances, located at 918 8th Street in Port Royal.

by giving back to an organization she reveres as a valuable asset to Beaufort County. Friends of Caroline Hospice is dedicated to providing the highest quality end-of-life care that focuses on enhancing the overall comfort for terminally ill patients with a prognosis of six months or less. Vista came very close to needing Friends of Caroline Hospice’s services and wants more people to know the significance and merit of hospice care.

Vista was diagnosed with Stage 4 triple negative breast cancer in August 2013. Triple negative breast cancer occurs in 10% to 20% of breast cancer patients and can be more aggressive and difficult to treat.  Also, the cancer is more likely to spread and recur.

After several rounds of failed chemotherapy treatments last fall, Vista was losing hope. But then, late that winter, she turned a corner. “I truly believe in divine intervention. Something, and I don’t know exactly what, started working. The tumors are gone. I am so grateful,” explains Vista.

About that time, Sharon Dwyer, director at Friends of Caroline Hospice, approached Vista while judging the wings competition at the annual event, Bands, Brews and BBQ. Vista inquired about the annual fashion show that normally is held in the spring. Dwyer explained that the fashion show was going to be held in the fall this year and asked Vista if she would be interested in helping plan the event. Vista agreed to chair the fashion show committee to benefit Friends of Caroline Hospice.

She’s the perfect fit for the role. Vista has years of experience planning successful events, owns a popular women’s apparel store in Port Royal called Nuances, and truly appreciates the value of hospice and palliative care.

“I’m excited to chair this year’s event, Belles, Baubles and Burlap, Fashion for Compassion. I think women in the community are going to be in for a treat,” says Vista.

This year, the fashion show will be held at the Dataw Island Clubhouse on Wednesday, September 17 at 11:30 a.m. The show will feature over 30 fashions from 13 area retailers, a live and silent auction and a delicious luncheon catered by Dataw. The emcee again this year is Deanna Bowdish, and Ash Milner will offer DJ services. All proceeds will support bereavement and caregiver support services at Friends of Caroline Hospice.

Vista is still receiving weekly chemotherapy treatments but maintains a positive outlook and is very appreciative of the community that has helped her through this difficult time.

“The people here are amazing. Everyone has been over-the-top generous with support,” says Vista. “I want this fashion show to be a celebration … of community, of perseverance … of life.”

The fashion show brings women together from all walks of life, young and old, not only to enjoy today’s trends and fashions, but also to rejoice in fellowship. This year, Vista wants everyone to remember why they’re there.

“What happened to me could happen to your mother, your daughter, your sister, or your friend. I hope all of the women who attend will pay silent tribute to those who have been diagnosed with and those we have lost to this horrible disease.”

Of course, Friends of Caroline Hospice, assists patients and families who have been diagnosed with a variety of illnesses and has been providing quality care for the Beaufort and Port Royal communities for over 30 years.

The fashion show’s popularity with local women is a testament to Friends of Caroline Hospice’s legacy of trust within the community, and it continues the tradition of bringing ladies together for a classic luncheon.

To purchase tickets to the fashion show, please call Friends of Caroline Hospice at 843-525-6257. Single tickets are $55 and tables of 10 are $500. Seating is limited, so be sure to make a reservation by Tuesday, Sept. 9.