Marletta’s Journey & the Rush Fashion Show

Join the Woman’s Board of Rush University Medical Center for their fashion show: Envision.

Date: Thursday, Oct. 18

Time: 5:30 p.m. cocktails, 7:30 p.m. fashion show

Place: The Palmer House Hilton, 17 East Monroe St.


Why: Marletta Darnall never imagined how important her volunteer work would be as a model, board member and Chair for the annual fashion show fundraiser put on by the Woman’s Board of Rush University Medical Center. Really though, it saved her life.

Darnall first modeled in the fashion show, which supports several areas of Rush Medical Center including breast health, in 1984. She joined the board in 1987 and worked her way up to Chairman of the show in 1998. Almost immediately thereafter, Darnall was diagnosed with a particularly aggressive breast cancer already in her lymph nodes.

She credits the hospital with swift, visionary action. “Even back then Rush had a teamwork plan.” She continues, “My surgeon, Dr. Witt, immediately performed a biopsy and scheduled the surgery. And my oncologist, Dr. Cobleigh, announced, ‘We’re going to save your life.’ And she did!”

Fortunately, Cobleigh was on a research team that had recently developed Herceptin. At the time, the drug was in its final FDA approval trials. Cobleigh made sure that Darnall was able to receive the drug in trial. And it worked. Now Herceptin is used widely.

Darnall also credits friends that she made through the fashion show and board for assistance.  Those who also had fought breast cancer became her support team.

She believes in the power of the attitude they taught her. “The Honorable Anne Scott brought me a big fancy hat and said, ‘Whenever you are given a choice—take it. Use all the big guns that you are given!’”

Darnall enjoys paying it forward and supporting others with breast cancer. Her advice mirrors that given to her by Scottt, “Don’t be afraid, there is so much happening in the field today, that it will be all right.” She pauses, “But you have to go to every length and not stop.”

This year’s fashion show continues the focus on fundraising for breast health. Darnall proudly describes, “Our goal is to raise $500,000 for new, state of the art digital mammography equipement for the revamped Breast Imaging Center,  Rush will have two separate areas; one for quick easy access for routine mammogram right by the valet entrance. The other area will be specifically for patients returning for more in depth testing.

This year’s show, Envision, will be held at the Palmer House Hilton on October 18th at 5:30 p.m.  Make It Better is proud to be the media sponsor. Our October magazine’s Fashion Editorial features luxury accessories featured in this year’s show.

Learn more or purchase tickets at