While New York Fashion Week is most well known as an event dominated by the world’s most successful models, one group of breast cancer survivors made the event their own this week, proudly strutting their stuff on the catwalk in an empowering runway show.
The Cancerland show on Sunday afternoon saw dozens of women walking down the runway in lingerie designs by Ana Ono, with many choosing to proudly show off their mastectomy scars as they made their way down the catwalk.
‘We are thrilled to have the opportunity to show that these inspiring individuals walking our runway are no different than any other person walking New York Fashion Week, or sitting in the audience or even riding the subway or walking into your neighborhood coffee shop,’ Ana Ono designer and breast cancer survivor Donna Donofree told The Culture Trip of the show.
She continued: ‘We want to show that whether you have been diagnosed with breast cancer or have a genetic marker, have breasts or have none, have visible scarring or even tattoos in place of nipples, it doesn’t matter.
‘You are still empowered, strong and sexy.’
It is the second annual lingerie show for the New York-based non-profit, which was founded by cancer sufferer and activist Champagne Joy, who passed away in March 2017.
However, her legacy has been carried on by others working for the organization, who are on a ‘mission to redefine the face of this illness’.
‘Through discussions of topics such as intimacy during and after treatment or the harsh financial realities of cancer, #Cancerland provides a platform to address breast cancer’s often ignored realities,’ the group’s website explains.
‘Cancerland advocates for research into therapies that will extend the lives of terminally ill cancer patients, and eventually turn Stage IV disease into a chronic condition, not a death sentence.
‘It rejects the notion that this disease defines the people who battle it. We are not victims marching to our pink ribbon deaths.
‘We choose to live our lives fully and completely while accepting the highs and lows of a disease that afflicts 1-in-8 women every year and kills 108 Americans every day.’
The show, which was emceed by Oscar-winning actress Mira Sorvino, saw dozens of women taking their turn on the catwalk, while also helping to raise thousands of dollars for breast cancer research and awareness.
‘It was a beautiful show featuring many beautiful faces,’ the organizers wrote on the non-profit’s official Facebook group.
‘It was an incredible event to be a part of, meeting new people and hearing everyone’s stories.
‘We want to thank you for taking part in this year’s Cancerland!’
One participant in the show, 27-year-old Anna Crolland, from North Carolina, who told local media outlet the News & Observer that the decision to sign up to the catwalk event after seeing the inaugural runway show on Facebook Live last year.
‘Last year I watched the Cancerland X AnaOno fashion show on Facebook Live and sobbed tears of joy,’ she said.
‘The power and pride of seeing women who looked like me, and knew what I have been through, walk the runway greatly impacted me.’
She added: ‘The show was recognized worldwide and helped draw attention to the realities of metastatic breast cancer—the only kind of breast cancer that kills.
‘Breast cancer is more than pink ribbons and 5ks – it is real women like me dying in their 20s, 30s, and 40s.’
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