Pageant was a success

Published 9:16 pm Wednesday, March 25, 2015

High heels, sparkly dresses, wigs and makeup generally don’t go well with a roomful of men, but they combined on Saturday for the Nansemond River Pilot Club’s 15th annual “Heels for Healing” Womanless Beauty Pageant.

The event raises money for the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life, and it’s always a fun event to boot. Folks who go regularly report that having fun while also raising money for a good cause is a fabulous combination.

The organizers usually don’t have any trouble selling tickets to the spectacle but sometimes have trouble roping in contestants. It’s hard, one supposes, to convince men to dress up as women in front of people they know, perform talents and answer interview questions, but once they know that it’s going toward the fight against cancer, few would object.


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Such was the case with Brandon Carter, whose sister died of cancer in December after battling it since 2011. He said his title-winning performance this year was in memory of her.

Most of this year’s contestants are connected closely to cancer in one way or another. One has a wife who works in health care. And it’s a pretty safe bet that they all know a friend or relative who has battled cancer.

The same goes for the more than 400 ticketholders who came out to support the event. A luminary ceremony during an intermission honored dozens of loved ones of those in attendance who have survived or died of cancer. It was an emotional and meaningful moment in a night that was otherwise filled with laughter and silliness.

But it all combined to raise a good deal of money — Pilot Club organizers are still tallying exactly how much — for the fight against cancer.

And that — not the makeup, the wigs, the dresses, the pink heel trophy or the tiara — is what matters.