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Dekker: Together We Cope knee deep in dresses

Together We Cope volunteer YeseniPalafox enjoys her job sorting through mountadonated bridal gowns. | Supplied photo

Together We Cope volunteer Yesenia Palafox enjoys her job of sorting through a mountain of donated bridal gowns. | Supplied photo

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Updated: August 8, 2013 6:15AM



When I heard that Together We Cope in Tinley Park had received a donation of 700 bridal gowns, I just had to see what that would look like.

When I got to the social service agency, communications director Marge Seltzner showed me to the back of the office where all of the dresses were being kept. And what a sight it was.

Mountains of large bags, too many to count, filled the room. In the center of it all was volunteer Yesenia Palafox, who was literally up to her neck in gowns.

Palafox volunteers at the agency every day, and on this day she was busy sorting the dresses by size, tagging them and preparing them to be moved to a storefront, at 18219 Harlem Ave., for a fundraising sale from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 13 and 14.

Seltzner explained that the dresses were donated to Together We Cope by the Oak Lawn branch of Eva’s Bridals of Illinois.

“These are new, quality gowns, not previously owned dresses,” Seltzner said. “They were sample gowns and are in every style, color and size imaginable. So far among them we’ve discovered an $8,000 Vera Wang bridal gown. It’s all very exciting.”

The gowns will be priced at $75 for bridal gowns and $50 for bridesmaid dresses. All proceeds from the sale will go toward client services and programs at Together We Cope.

The Tinley Park-based agency, 17010 Oak Park Ave., provides food, shelter, clothing and referrals to Southland residents in temporary crisis, enabling them to return to self-sufficiency.

The gowns that I saw were indeed beautiful. The ladies at the agency pointed out to me that many of the bridesmaid dresses were appropriate for any formal occasion, such as proms or dances, and that the price makes them that much more attainable.

If you’re looking for bridal or bridesmaid dresses, you won’t want to miss this event. For more information, contact Together We Cope at (708) 633-5040.

Get your rear in gear

On July 28, the Tony Bettenhausen Recreation Center will host the annual “Get Your Rear In Gear” 5K Run/Walk. In the fight against colon cancer, our nation’s second-leading cause of cancer deaths, the Get Your Rear In Gear coalition, consisting of colon cancer survivors and supporters, hold events across the United States.

Working with health care providers, corporations and the media, the coalition works to raise awareness of the disease by promoting prevention and early detection of colon cancer and to provide support to those affected by it.

I spoke with Oak Forest resident Kevin Coster, who will be running in the race for the fourth time. Coster said he runs in honor of his friend and associate, Rick Heyward, who died from colon cancer, and for Ken Lew, the husband of a co-worker, Bonnie Lew ,who also succumbed to the disease.

Bonnie told me how touched she was by Kevin’s support.

“Three years ago, the race was canceled due to heavy rains,” she said.“Kevin not only ran it alone but finished it to show his support. Kevin is truly dedicated to the cause.”

Coster said he runs in the event every year because “I just want to do what I can to help the people who are victims of this disease. It is a very rewarding feeling to run for the people who can’t.”

While running in the event, Coster wears pinned to his shirt pictures of the people he is honoring. He told me that when he starts to get tired, all he has to do is look down at those faces to remind himself that he doesn’t have it so bad after all.

Registration for the 5K run/walk begins at 7 a.m. at the Bettenhausen Center, 8125 W. 171st St., Tinley Park. The race starts at 8 a.m. The Kids Fun Run will be at 8:30 a.m., and the 5K Walk at 9 a.m.

The registration fee before July 24 is $25 for adults and $10 for youth 12 and under. After July 24 and on race day, the price is $30 for adults and $12 for youth 12 and under. Visit www.getyourrearingear.com for more information.



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