Runway to Hope raises $400k to fight childhood cancer - Current Affairs, celebrities, charity, child welfare, fundraiser, volunteer, youth

By Kate Santich
Posted March, 22 2011 6:31 PM

Runway to Hope Raises $400K to Fight childhood CancerExhibit A of the evidence that life isn't fair has to be childhood cancer. Each year in this country, more than 12,000 children from newborns to 18-year-olds are diagnosed with the disease, and it remains the leading cause of death for kids 14 and under.

Worse, despite great progress fighting many cancers that afflict adults, survival rates haven't improved for children in the past 20 years.

Runway to Hope, founded by Orlando attorney Mark NeJame and wife Josie NeJame, is a full-court press to change the odds. Its signature event, the Runway to Hope Spring Fashion Soiree, came this past weekend [March 20] at the Mall of Millenia and brought in an impressive $400,000 for the cause " making it one of the region's top 10 fundraisers in only its first year.

Hosted by TV celebrities Bill and Giuliana Rancic (he of “The Apprentice,” she of E! News with Ryan Seacrest), the event's highlight was a special fashion show featuring 30 kids from age 2 to 18 who have battled "or are battling" cancer.

It's one thing to talk about them in the abstract. It's another to see a toddler, bald from chemotherapy, parade bravely across the stage, her tiny body looking all the more vulnerable in the spotlight of the runway.

Parents of the participants say their children get a great emotional boost from the experience. Equally important, all the proceeds help fund clinical trials, research, technology and family assistance in the war against pediatric cancer at both Florida Hospital for Children and Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando.

Source: Orlando Sentinel