It’s that time of year when thoughts start to turn to the end of year school party, or PROM, one of the most important dates in the teen calendar, and one where dressing to impress is a prerequisite!
Prom is now a really big deal in the UK and every young person wants to look their best, and why not? However, with over 200 young people in the North West being diagnosed with cancer each year, not everyone gets to enjoy this special rite of passage.
On Friday 31 March 2017, fashion lovers and charity supporters from across the North West gathered at the Concorde Centre in Manchester Airport for a prom-themed fashion show with a conscience. Runway on the Runway raised awareness of cancer in young people as well £50,000, and counting, for Teenage Cancer Trust.
Over 600 people attended this inspiring event, organised by Teenage Cancer Trust’s Regional Ambassador for the North West, Margo Cornish. The event saw 10 other catwalks from schools across the North West, Boss Model Management and students from Manchester Enterprise Academy, young men and women who have experienced cancer also took to the runway.
Margo first became involved with Teenage Cancer Trust through her role as a volunteer with the Make-a-Wish charity where she met young people going through cancer treatment. Too often she was hearing the same stories about delays in diagnosis, the social isolation and the lack of confidence experienced to the impact of the treatment on their appearance, albeit temporary.
As we know, Margo isn’t the type of person to sit back and do nothing so three years ago she came up with a plan that has since raised over £150,000 for the Trust! The idea for this uniquely themed [now bi-annual] event came from Margo’s daughters` enjoyment of her own Prom night, she told us: “I remember the excitement of finding the perfect dress, the ritual of getting ready and of her feeling like a princess in this amazing outfit. I wanted these young girls to experience this and to feel beautiful at a time when they might not.”
The night began with a catwalk walked by all young people who have experienced cancer, including James Murphy, 18, who was diagnosed with cancer just last autumn.
James said: “When I was diagnosed, I wasn’t really even sure what Leukaemia or Lymphoma was and also how chemotherapy worked. At 18 I’d never been exposed to anyone with blood cancer and had really limited knowledge about cancer and its treatment in general as it just wasn’t a topic I had had any previous exposure to or would discuss with friends.
“But I’ve been so lucky to have the support of a charity like Teenage Cancer Trust and I’ve seen the work that they do for people like me who get cancer at a young age. I have so many fond memories of my time at The Christie thanks to the brilliant doctors and nurses and all my friends and family who made the best out of a bad situation and made me smile when I didn’t think I could.”
Throughout the evening short film presentations showcased the work of the Trust and the impact it has on the young people it supports, and there was no denying it was emotional; full of reflection for those who had sadly lost their battle, but also one of celebration for those who have overcome such adversity. Packed with innovative catwalks, the students were clearly thrilled to have the challenge of choreographing their walks and they all showed off their incredible modelling skills as they strutted their stuff down the Concorde runway. The roar of the jets taking off overhead only added to the excitement of the evening and the magic in the air!
As well as fundraising tirelessly for Teenage Cancer Trust, Margo Cornish runs The Cinderella Project, a scheme which offers young women with cancer bespoke beauty experiences. They offer full makeovers and designer dresses to ensure that a young woman can be the ‘Belle of the Ball’ at any event – a prom or a birthday party – despite having cancer.
Margo Cornish, organiser of Runway on the Runway and Teenage Cancer Trust Ambassador for the North East, said: “Runway on the Runway was a brilliant success, which wouldn’t have been possible without the amazing support from the North West community, who have always been such generous supporters of our cause. Not only did the event raise awareness, it also helped raise vital funds to support young people with cancer and help Teenage Cancer Trust with their goal of reaching every single young person with cancer in the UK.”
Vanessa Simmons, Fundraising Manager for the North West at Teenage Cancer Trust, said: “We’ve been so impressed with the incredible enthusiasm of the North West community and all the schools, companies and individuals involved with Runway on the Runway. A huge thank you to everyone who took part and helped to raise awareness and funds that will help up support all young people with cancer.
Right now, almost half of young people with cancer are not treated in Teenage Cancer Trust units. Instead they are treated in hospitals where there isn’t the same level of expertise, and they might never meet another young person with cancer. This is a scary and lonely experience. This must change. Right now, we are building a wider Nursing & Support Service within the NHS to help all young people, wherever they receive treatment. To make this happen, we need to raise more than £20 million every year by 2020.”
Teenage Cancer Trust makes sure the seven young people aged 13 to 24 diagnosed with cancer every day don’t face it alone. They help young people and their families deal with the many ways cancer affects your body, mind and life. The charity works in partnership with the NHS, providing expert staff and specialist units in Principal Treatment Centres for cancer, and bring young people together so they can support each other.
For more information on Fashion for a Reason, The Cinderella Project, and Margo’s other events, please visit: http://www.runwayontherunway.co.uk
To help transform the lives of young people with cancer visit: www.teenagecancertrust.org.
Red carpet ready
In celebration of this mementoes charity event, this month we take a look at prom fashions for teens and young adults, from sequined gowns to the outrageously hip.