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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, June 21, 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 25
Surviving with style - Gilda's Club Seattle supports community members living with cancer
Arts & Entertainment
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Surviving with style - Gilda's Club Seattle supports community members living with cancer

by By Victoria Victor - SGN Associate Editor

At times, when people think about fashion and models, it can be perceived as shining and even shallow, and out of reach. If that happens to be your opinion, you should have attended Gilda's Club 16th annual Surviving With Style Designer Fashion Show and Luncheon at the Westin Seattle Hotel on June 13. The event featured 22 models and 18 designers, with proceeds to benefit Gilda's Club Seattle.

What is Gilda's Club Seattle? Its mission is to ensure that no one has to face cancer alone. They provide a free program of services for men, women, teens, and children living with cancer, along with their family members, partners, and friends. A nonprofit, Gilda's Club Seattle offers support and networking groups, educational lectures, workshops, and social events in its Seattle clubhouse and out in the community with the Gilda's on the Go Program. I was simply amazed to learn that their services are free!

What is unique about this fashion show? I was able to speak with Rose Dennis, chair of Gilda's Fashion Show Committee, and learned that it was her idea to involve local designers to design outfits for models who had battled cancer, or are still fighting it. Combining fashion with philanthropy is not a new concept, but this show is unique in a sense that it instills positivity, and all models also get to keep their custom-made designs after taking confidence strides with style on the runway. Every model's story is truly inspiring - hearing them will motivate you to pick yourself up every time you think life is tough or unfair. To me, they are not just survivors, but heroes. I had the honor of meeting and speaking with two of the 18 models backstage before they transform into runway models to light up the runway. Here are snapshots of their stories with those of their designers.

KATHRYN KAFKA DEGGINGER
Kathryn was diagnosed with invasive lobular carcinoma of the breast in 2004 and with invasive ductal carcinoma of the breast in 2009. In between the two breast episodes, her doctors were concerned that she might have ovarian cancer. She says, 'I have no uterus, no cervix, no fallopian tubes, no ovaries, and have only one real breast, but I am all girl!' She wants every woman to know that regular screenings for all female cancers are vital because every detection really is your best friend - healthy people get cancer too. Her quote: 'I know that I am in charge of my own health and I don't take good health for granted.

The designer for Kathryn is Justin Zachary Bartle, who has participated in many fashion charity shows and now designs for high-profile individuals and socialites in the greater Seattle-Bellevue area. His work has been shown at the Academy Awards, the Vanity Fair Oscar Party, and at various nonprofits such as Gilda's Club. For this show, he designed a simple yet chic and elegant dress for Kathryn that accentuates her figure and radiates beyond beauty. You can see more of Justin's work at http://justinzachary.com/site/main.html.

JANA DUKELOW
Jana is the single mom of four wonderful kids. In addition to her parental duties, Jana works in sales for a local clothing wholesaler, heads up a nonprofit that raises money to support cancer research at Seattle Children's Hospital and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and sits on the board of trustees of Seattle Children's. 'My interests and hobbies are wrapped up in those of my kids for now and working on my nonprofits,' she says. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012, and long before she was diagnosed, her then-three-year old daughter Jordyn was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 1994 that took her life almost two years later. It was three years later that she started fundraising for cancer research. Then, in 2003, her father died from melanoma, the second of two cancers he had. Her quote: 'All of my experiences with cancer have given me a passion, a purpose and a goal & to continue to help fund cancer research until it is as common as diagnosing a cold or broken bone.' This incredible woman is built of steel, and she has a smile that will brighten any gloomy day!

Tan Tran of From Door to Cubicle (F.D.T.C.) is the designer for Jana. He grew up in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, a culturally rich locale that provides him with endless inspiration. Being able to study in Australia and the United States, as well as traveling to Hong Kong and Singapore, has given him a view of the world that is exciting, educational, and multi-dimensional. For the fashion show, he made a fur coat and suit for Jana, and it is definitely a showstopper that will make you pause and look twice. When doing her catwalk, Jana looked like a stunning movie star. Asked to use three words to describe his style or design, Tan says, 'Strong, confident, and independent!' You can see more of his work at http://tantraninternational.com/apparel/intro.html.

FASHION AND COMPASSION
Participating in the Surviving with Style Designer Fashion Show and Luncheon gives every participant a fresh perspective about designers, fashion, and models. It is a show with a soul - fashion with compassion and passion! For more information about Gilda's Club Seattle, visit www.gildasclubseattle.org. See you next year at the 17th annual show!

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