The 22nd annual St. Jude Fashion Show was held Nov. 20 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont. The luncheon, emceed by NBC-5’s Allison Rosati, attracted nearly 1,300 supporters and featured the popular “Dream a Little Dream” fashion show, an extensive raffle and silent auction, and an inspiring testimonial.
During the Champagne reception, guests enjoyed beauty makeovers before the program began. Makeup and hair touch-ups were provided by teams from Trish McEvoy and Paul Mitchell. Guests who posed in a Luna photo booth created personal postcards to send to St. Jude patients.
Keynote speaker Libby Swearingen shared the story of her 11-year-old daughter “Princess” Tess, who was diagnosed in 2009 with stage 4, high-risk neuroblastoma at a St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital facility in Peoria, Ill. She endured 10 months of chemotherapy, a stem-cell harvest and transplant, several surgeries, 13 rounds of radiation and a six-month antibody therapy treatment. When Tess was diagnosed, this therapy treatment didn’t exist but, because of ongoing research at St. Jude, Tess’ prognosis jumped from 20 percent to 70 percent, and today she is cancer-free.
“Without the care and love that every staff member showered on our entire family, hope would have been lost. St. Jude was able to care for our daughter’s medical needs, our emotional needs, as well as other financial needs. St. Jude saved our daughter’s life,” Libby Swearingen said.
St. Jude Fashion Show finale
St. Jude’s “Dream a Little Dream” fashion show finale featured a mannequin challenge.
A 35-minute fashion show, produced by Zzazz Productions, followed. Local designers Maria Pinto, Peach Carr, Caroline Rose, Leandra Mulet and Taneasha Prunty (for Gidi) showed their collections, along with Neiman Marcus, L.K. Bennett, Karen Millen, redE Boutique, Mac Duggal and York Furrier. For the finale, models struck a pose on the runway, executing a mannequin challenge — a viral video craze that involves people freezing for the camera. The Swearingen family also made a runway appearance, carrying signs thanking St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Ann Danner Dwyer, a trustee on St. Jude’s national board, noted, “There’s no place like St. Jude. No family ever receives a bill, so all they need to concentrate on is getting cured. St. Jude is global and has the best and most cutting-edge research for childhood cancer in the world.”
More than $420,000 was raised for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, its ongoing research and its high-quality patient care, including housing, food and travel for families with children undergoing treatment.
Freelance writer Candace Jordan is involved with many local organizations, including some whose events she covers.
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