Craft Fair & Health Expo highlights women |

Craft Fair & Health Expo highlights women

Alisha Self, Of the Record staff

Last year, 27-year-old Elisha Frey was working as a veterinary technician at the Park City Animal Clinic. She was used to being around sick animals, but she never thought she’d become sick herself.

Last September, she developed some unusual symptoms and went to the doctor. It turned out to be a day she’ll never forget. She was diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia, an aggressive malignancy of the bone marrow.

Frey says her initial reaction to the diagnosis was different than people might expect. "I knew it was a blood cancer and I knew it was bad, but I just thought, OK, let’s deal with it."

The next day, she started the first of three rounds of chemotherapy. For several months, Frey was in and out of the hospital. She wound up in the intensive care unit twice, once for developing pneumonia and once for a common cold, which can be fatal for immuno-compromised patients. "It was really scary," she says.

During her time in the hospital, Frey found a way to take her mind off the harsh realities of cancer. She turned to photography, something she has been interested in since high school. She recalls walking down the halls and snapping images of abstract visions in the building. "It became an outlet," she says. "It’s something that keeps my mind off of it and keeps me busy."

This month marks one year since Frey’s diagnosis. She is considered to be in remission, although she’ll continue treatment for another year and a half. She takes oral chemotherapy at home and continues to cultivate her passion for photography.

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"I would definitely love to really dedicate myself to photography," she says. "I think it’s really important to just go out there and do what you do and do what you love, because, you know, tomorrow you may be diagnosed with a life-threatening disease. You don’t know, and it’s not worth wasting your time on not being happy."

This Saturday, Frey will share her photos with the Park City community at the Women’s Craft Fair & Health Expo, sponsored by the Women’s Center for Spirituality. She is among about 30 local women who will showcase their talents and share their knowledge in various fields.

Rev. Cheryl Popple, the leader of the Women’s Center for Spirituality and organizer of the event, says it will bring together female craft vendors, women involved in fundraising groups and nonprofit agencies, women athletes, and women who work in the fields of health care and fitness.

The craft fair will give women with smaller businesses and home businesses those who don’t have access to rental space and big advertising budgets a chance to get their names out, and the health expo will give women a chance to ask questions of local health-care providers and medical professionals.

Admission is free and everyone is welcome. Patrons are encouraged to bring cans of soup to donate for the "Great 1,000 Cans of Soup Collection," which will be distributed to local food pantries at the Christian Center and St. Mary’s Catholic Church.

The event will run from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 4595 N. Silver Springs Dr. It will also feature kids’ activities and a costume parade for girls in kindergarten through sixth grade to dress as the "woman they admire the most." The parade will be on the church property and lineup begins at 10:45 a.m.

"This is a unique event in that it brings together women who are working in so many ways to make our community a better place to live," Popple says. "It is a celebration."

Last week, Mayor Dana Williams and members of the Park City Council approved a resolution by the Women’s Center for Spirituality to declare Sept. 26 "Celebration of Women Day."

Popple says that the center plans to continue the Craft Fair & Health Expo in future years and expand it to allow more participation by local women and more activities for the general public.