On Thursday, Lawrence doctors will be doing their rounds in a bit of a different way.
Medical professionals from around Douglas County will be strutting down the runway at Van Go Inc. to benefit nonprofit organizations Health Care Access and Van Go in the seventh annual Douglas County Medical Alliance Fashion Benefit.
While the terms “fashion” and “health care” don’t usually coincide, for one night, those who wear scrubs and tennis shoes as a daily uniform will reinvent themselves through the stylings of 13 downtown stores including Spectators, Weavers, FoxTrot and Nomads, among others. The event will also feature cocktails, shopping available from seven on-site vendors and a drawing for a chance to win prizes.
“It’s a three-way win for Lawrence. The medical community gets together to support the uninsured through Health Care Access, mental health and the arts through Van Go and the local economy through downtown Lawrence,” said Barb Heeb, one of the organizers of this year’s benefit.
The event began in 2006 as a unique way to bring the community together, to support local shops and to support Van Go. Ginger and MaryAnn’s, a now-closed clothing store, hosted the show for two years before it hopped to Eccentricity, then Signs of Life. Finally, it landed, for the past three years, at Van Go, 715 N.J.
The show has expanded to benefit Health Care Access as well as Van Go and has increased its participating vendors from one to 24.
Julie Dunlap, a founding organizer of the fashion benefit, says DCMA hopes to raise $4,000 at this year’s event, and she’s excited to see even more participation from the medical community.
“We’ve got pediatricians, urologists, radiologists, dentists, internal medicine doctors and plenty of others joining in this year,” she said.
Heeb, whose husband is a physician and will be modeling in the show for the second year in a row, says her husband may provide some laughs for the audience.
“He decided to watch some YouTube videos and come up with a signature move,” she said.
Last year, his walk down the runway included ripping off his button-up shirt (to reveal another shirt underneath) and pulling his cellphone out of his pocket to mime getting a call from the hospital.
Eliza Nichols, marketing director of Van Go, says the show brings a unique set of partners together that not only makes it a great event to benefit the organization but also to host in the Van Go space.
“We love to see community members having fun for a good cause. The organization and creative collaboration among the local vendors, models, guests and committee members brings success to the event.”
Van Go plans to use its portion of the proceeds for their job-training programs for high-needs Lawrence teens. Health Care Access will use its portion to support the general operation of their organization, which serves low-income, uninsured members of Douglas County.
Tickets are $30 and can be purchased at the door or online at dcmaks.org. Ticket holders also receive a 20 percent discount at 24 participating stores and restaurants Thursday through Sunday.