By Judianne Jayme
February 10th, 2019 was an evening that combined passion and fashion. The Centre Culturel Franco-Manitobain (CCFM) was transformed into a runway where the different community groups got together to share about, educate, and raise funds to combat Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD). Creator of Catwalk for a Cure, Michelle Santos , became the co-founder of the Canadian CJD Association after losing her mother, Minda, to the disease in 2014. Her goal is to raise awareness and raise funds to propel studies in finding a cure and treatments for CJD. She is currently working with Dr. Valerie Sims, based in Alberta, who is one of the top researchers in this field. In 2016, Santos created a fashion line of everyday clothing for men, women and kids with messages that reflect her journey. She chose phrases that can be interpreted universally and can be applied to anyone’s story. One of her most inspiring messages, which could also be seen iced on cookies at the event, is “ Live for You” , a true testament of her work and mission to share about her mother’s story. These pieces were all featured in the finale that the models wore during the fashion show.
The event was a collaboration with Linger Ann Aragon , the owner of Ann + Co and Parasayo , who had taken on this signature event as both the event planner and design partner. What you see in decorations, who you see volunteering and providing services, sponsors, media and vendor partners, and the timeline of the event itself were coordinated by Aragon. This is a thankless job that often goes unnoticed – in fact, Aragon was barely seen at the event because, truth is, she needed to be everywhere behind the scenes. She made sure deliveries were received, timelines were adjusted, she coordinated with her team and volunteers, and did everything else to make this event run as smoothly as it did. She was an instrumental part of the event’s success. Catwalk for a Cure was fuelled by 30 dedicated volunteers. As you walked in, you were greeted by the front desk team ensuring that you were taken care of. VIPs were treated to a swag bag of perks from local businesses. Before you even made it to your seat, international students from the University of Manitoba were volunteering their time, circulating with hors d’oeuvres. Tables with beautifully donated prize packages were available for silent auction. A free photobooth for guests was provided by 6 Degrees Photobooth.
The evening was hosted by the always energetic and hilarious Lendyll Soriano, radio host of CKJS 810am and Mabuhay TV. The audience got to know Minda’s family’s story through videos of her husband and children, created and edited by JAB Productions . There was a performance from Winnipeg-based singer-songwriter Yvanne with her dancers, and music for the evening was supplied by Jamil the DJ.
Many of the volunteer models, both kids and adults, were experiencing their first runway! All 65 models got ready with the help of a glam team, and with the guidance of volunteer stage manager Lara Mae Delos Santos. Clothing featured on the catwalk were provided by sponsors Hush + Shout, Loka, Tharnzie, Style Confidante, Knits by Che, Loose Threads Co., Trendy Tots, Quinn and Dot, and Sewrenity Creations. These products, along with Santos’s line of everyday wear, were handled by wardrobe managers Rojuane Aragon and Ashley Phillips .
The ending of the event was memorable as runway was filled with the kids, the Santos Family, and the models for one final call. It was a visual reminder of the impact that comes when people unite with purpose.
Photos by Norman Gonzaga, Rollan Temporosa (rutemporosaphotography.com)and Ron Cantiveros | Filipino Journal