Courtesy of Greg Bartram
On the ice it’s possible the Columbus Blue Jackets players are getting black eyes, but this week they’ll also be sporting black ties.
The Blue Jackets Foundation will host the 6th annual Black Tie Blue Jackets Style Show at 7 p.m. Thursday at Nationwide Arena. The style show is a fashion show devoted to celebrating “heroes” of pediatric cancer.
Pediatric cancer is one of the primary focuses of the Blue Jackets Foundation, along with education, children’s health and safety, and youth and amateur hockey. This year’s style show has already raised an estimated $300,000, said Jen Bowden, executive director of the Blue Jackets Foundation.
The show is meant to celebrate heroes and their “strength, hope and courage,” which is the theme of this year’s show, according to its website.
All of the Blue Jackets will be in attendance and some will even appear in the show.
The players love getting involved in this event, Bowden said.
“I think they all in their own way can think back to when they were kids and remember what professional athletes meant to them in their lives as role models,” Bowden said. “They understand that there’s a debt of gratitude.”
Ashley Poland, a fifth-year in early childhood education, is participating in the show for the first time this year. Last year, on her 23rd birthday, Poland was diagnosed with synovial sarcoma. Surgery and chemotherapy forced Poland to take a year off of school, and she returned to Ohio State this fall.
Poland said she has enjoyed her time working with the Blue Jackets recently. She wasn’t really a fan of the team before, but she said she gladly is now.
“I guess it’s nice being a role model for people who are going through the same thing,” Poland said. “Kids are one thing, but people our age it’s different. You don’t see things like that happen to you at 23.”
The experience has reminded Poland to appreciate the things she has, she said.
Eric Mayer, a third-year in sports and leisure studies and intern for the Blue Jackets Foundation, said he is excited to be involved in the event.
“This is sort of the culmination event of what we do as an organization, and it’s just sort of a very real thing,” Mayer said. “Here (at the BJF), we come in and we make a difference in people’s lives every single day in a very substantial way.”
There will be a reception and meet-and-greet before the show at 5:30 p.m. Auctions will also take place throughout the evening. Tickets can be purchased at bluejacketsformal.org and formal attire is not required.