Catwalk for BMC Cancer Care Inspires Hope
The glamorous State Room, which overlooks the picturesque cityscape of Boston, was brimming with grinning faces last Thursday. Once again the kind-hearted visionary Bryan Finocchio brought together prominent and caring people who appreciate fashion and want to help combat cancer. Last fall Finocchio organized Catwalk for a Cure, a heart-warming fashion show that raised Breast Cancer awareness. Finocchio has since started an organization called OpenHeARTs, which combines art and philanthropy. Last week OpenHeARTS presented Catwalk for BMC Cancer Care, which raised aid for the Boston Medical Center’s cancer unit and featured cancer patients, survivors and medical workers alongside professional models in garments designed by local designers.
“Since the last Catwalk for a Cure we have grown tremendously,” said Finocchio, “I think [cancer] really hits home for a lot of people.”
Kim McNeil, a lung cancer survivor, sat backstage with a smile on her face as she waited for the show to begin. She spoke about how grateful she was for the doctors who helped her at the Boston Medical Center and how she hoped the event would show others that cancer is not always the end.
“Don’t be afraid of the word ‘cancer.’ It can be fixed. It’s not a death sentence,” McNeil said.
Survivor Deborah Sullivan had similar sentiments. She believes events like these are important to give people hope and knowledge about the disease.
“No one thinks cancer will touch them,” Sullivan said. “I hope this show will educate people. Anything that puts it out there is wonderful.”
The designers involved in the show also felt passionately about spreading awareness and helping to combat cancer. Julie Monteiro, Sara Campbell LLC, Julie Kontos and Avni Trivedi were all featured in the show.
“I think this event is important to get people involved in and understanding cancer,” said designer Avni Trivedi, who uses handmade fabrics from India (where she was born and raised). “I designed these [garments] to represent brain cancer. I used natural dyes, which are good for the patients.”
Christina K. Pierce, stylist and owner of a self-named boutique on Newbury Street, was present as well. She brought with her several designs that she felt exhibited cancer awareness and support.
“Each color represents each ribbon [for cancer] in the show,” said Pierce. “What’s really great about this event is that it’s acknowledging so many forms of cancer.”
The show went on with thundering applauses and cheers as survivors danced along the catwalk in glee. Fireworks could be seen through the gaping windows and it felt as though the whole city of Boston was celebrating the courage and strength that these patients and medical providers faced.
Jayne Ferguson, a member of the audience whose best fiend died of cancer two years ago, was in awe after the last models walked off the runway.
“The show was fabulous,” Ferguson said. “I love these fundraisers because they bring hope to all of us.”