The audience was welcomed by Dr Subhas Gupta who is the Chairman of Plastic Surgery at Loma Linda. He discussed the decreasing death rate from breast cancer for younger women and how this was related in part to increased awareness of screening options for patients. He further stated that, “Only 17% of the eligible breast cancer patients are ever offered a consultation to learn about their reconstructive options.”. He invited everyone in the audience to join the “Pink Runway community” http://www.facebook.com/
Gupta was followed by Ruthita Fike, CEO of Loma Linda University Medical Center who delivered a message about making patients whole as the mission of the institution states. This message was echoed by Dr Michael Hill, director of breast reconstruction surgery. He and his son, Jonathan Hill presented a Survivor's video that was one of the highlights of the entire event bringing many in the audience to tears as the patients/models spoke of their family support networks.
The entertainment program came next featuring ballerina and social activist Carrie Lee Riggins formerly with the New York City Ballet and recently featured in “The Black Swan”. Carrie Lee danced in an appropriately pink tutu to thunderous applause. As a featured ambassador of the Pink Runway, she has made a commitment to help this organization grow. She stated that “This night is about the ladies [the survivor models], and though I have only known about the Pink Runway for two weeks, I will continue to do my best to promote its goals.”
Returning to the Pink Runway for the second time, Billboard recording artist, Tina Sugandh sang an emotional “Snake Charmer” song about fighting cancer. She then had the entire audience involved for “Jao” literally meaning “Get away, cancer!”. She returned to the stage after performing to present the first ever Geeta Sugandh Sunshine Award to honor an individual who best exemplified her mother's qualities of positivity, sunshine , and radiance in her own fight against breast cancer that ultimately claimed her in 2008. The award was presented to the executive director of the Pink Runway, Cherl Tidwell.
The night had its crescendo with the fashion show as the models all rocked the runway on their special night. They had been pampered all day with massages, and complete makeovers by numerous beauty professionals who had converged at Studio Dejon in Riverside. Other corporate sponsors and partners of the event included Allergan, LifeCell, ColoreScience, Susan G Komen for the Cure, VMG Partners, and Macy's. Numerous other Southern California businesses were also supporters of this event and were represented in the exhibitors row at the venue showcasing breast health information kiosks, breast cancer reconstruction experts, and beauty products from the aestheticians and plastic surgeons of Loma Linda University.
All of the proceeds from the fashion show event will benefit research and education efforts in the Center for Breast Reconstruction of the Department of Plastic Surgery at Loma Linda University. The funds this year will go toward research into the socioeconomic factors that affect treatment decisions in post-mastectomy patients.
The evening concluded with gratitude and a call to action of the over 400 attendees to spread the message of awareness broadly and to return to the next Pink Runway on September 30, 2012. http://www.thepinkrunway.com
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