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From left to right: Lori Counts, Nemours Fund for Children's Health; Dr. Rajasekaran, Director NCCCR; Sandi Patterson; Patricia Ajizadeh; Fiona and Sherry Monahan; Lisa Wood, Nemours/AIDHC Social Work.
Wilmington, DE — Last fall, 35 children and youth aged 3-20 walked the runway modeling clothes from local boutiques to benefit childhood cancer research at the Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children. What made the fashion show extra special were the models themselves — all survivors of childhood cancers.
Through ticket sales to the show and a silent auction, the Kids’ Runway for Research event raised $7,000 for Nemours and the Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation of Delaware, a support and advocacy group for children with cancer and their families. In January, event organizers and participants presented a check to A.K. Rajasekaran, PhD, Director of the Nemours Center for Childhood Cancer Research.
“This was a unique and wonderful effort on the part of the community and many of the families we have served to raise awareness and funds for childhood cancer and the important research being done to combat it,” said Dr. Rajasekaran. Sandi Patterson and Patricia Ajizadeh, the primary organizers of Kids’ Runway for Research, said they did it to “shine a light on childhood cancer and to give these kids a chance to shine.” They plan to hold it as an annual event September to recognize Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
Fiona Monahan, eight, of Lincoln University, PA, participated in the fashion show and loved “feeling like a star” while she was in treatment for acute lymphocytic leukemia, one of the more treatable forms of childhood cancer. Fiona and her mother, Sherry Monahan, were on hand at the check presentation to thank the organizers and the research team for their dedication.
“Fiona is cancer-free now and getting back to the business of just being a kid,” said Sherry Monahan. “The runway show was a high point for her when she was sick, in chemotherapy and feeling a loss of control of her life. We plan to support this event going forward because it was a wonderful experience for the kids and families and because more research is needed to improve treatments, reduce side effects, and overcome these diseases.”