BEIRUT: Strutting their stuff down the runway in front of crowds packed on three levels, these weren’t your average models who took part in the Shine with Hope Fashion Show at ABC Ashrafieh Saturday.
From as young as little Celia Derakelian at 18 months old to Elsa Haydamous aged 14, all of the models who wowed their audience in their first ever fashion show are also patients at the Children’s Cancer Center of Lebanon.
The event was held to raise both awareness and funds for CCCL, as part of the center’s ongoing golden ribbon campaign, a global symbol for the fight against cancer.
CCCL is affiliated with both the American University of Beirut’s Medical Center and the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis Tennessee, and the research pays off with an average cure rate of 80 percent.
The center also offers its treatments completely free of charge, relying on donations to cover its $15 million per year budget.
The show – under the motto “fashion is for everyone” – was billed as an event to raise awareness, as well as moral and financial support for the children, and the kids themselves showed that they deserved to be given center stage.
The more confident boys and girls took the runway by storm, hands on hips as they strutted past cheering spectators, hitting each mark with poise. Others, particularly the younger models, seemed at times bemused by the spectacle, walking shyly down the runway as the audience shouted encouragement.
A large crowd had packed into the mall to watch the two-hour event, with eagle eyed spectators lining the barriers on each level.
As well as putting on the show, the kids were raising funds by selling their own artwork, up on display.
ABC has teamed up with CCCL by pledging to donate 2 percent of the profit on sales of the clothes modeled by the kids from March 14-22.
The event went off without a hitch – with zumba, body popping and break dancers interspersed between the kids modeling their fashion.
The show ended on a high note, with audience members being given gold balloons – to match the gold ribbons – on which they were asked to write their wishes. The emcee’s suggestions ranged from “world peace” to “shopping at ABC Ashrafieh,” but most in the crowd chose to write wishes for the health of the children before releasing their balloons and giving the kids a round of applause.
Donations to CCCL can be made via their website: www.cccl.org.lb.