This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Daffodil Fashion Show. The event has gone by different names and has been held at different venues, but the spirit behind it has largely remained the same: to honour the many lives that have been touched by cancer in our community.
The Road to the 50th Year
Before taking a well-deserved break this year, Shannon Berdusco had been involved in the Daffodil Tea and Fashion Show since 1969. Back then, the event was a formal tea service hosted in a community member’s garden. “Ladies wore hats and white gloves,” remembers Berdusco. “Our mayor at the time was a woman, and she had the honour of pouring.”
A couple years later, they incorporated a fashion show. It was a well-received addition and has been a part of the fundraiser ever since. Around 1995, men from the community were invited to serve at the event, and they eagerly agreed to participate in the fundraiser.
“One encounter sticks in my mind,” says Berdusco. “The first time we had men do the serving, I was standing beside an OPP officer, and he said, ‘I don’t know how you do it! You get cancer, and then you die.’ I replied that those are the stories you hear about, but there are thousands who are diagnosed, undergo treatment, and move on with their lives. Just then, one of the models was introduced as a three-time cancer survivor. He worked with this girl. He said, ‘I didn’t know she had cancer, and I see her every day.’ ‘Point made,’ I replied. And we both shared a smile.”
Reflections from Retailers
For ten years, Joseph Men’s Clothier has been a part of the Daffodil Fashion Show. “The event is a particularly important cause for us, as family members and friends have been affected by or succumbed to the disease,” says Ashley Chiaramida. “It is so rewarding to work with those who have overcome the disease and watch them walk the runway in support of those who cannot.” Chiaramida adds that it’s a
pleasure to see how different parts of the community come together at the Daffodil Fashion Show. “There is always an air of encouragement and support at the event,” says Chiaramida. “Everyone joining together—organizers, attendees and local businesses alike—is simply amazing.”
Nancy Nevala first volunteered to help organize the Daffodil Fashion Show around 23 years ago and has since lent fashions from her shop, Fashion Therapy, to the event’s runway. “Any woman who had cancer or was a cancer survivor was encouraged to be a part of the show, whether organizing or modelling,” recalls Nevala. “The frightening thing is that there never was a problem finding models.” But, like Chiaramida, Nevala was touched by the supportive community that formed around the event. “All of the various stores and models turned to each other for support and encouragement to make the most of the event. The fun and support we had together as a community was quite amazing.”
The 50th Daffodil Fashion Show
Details courtesy of Lisa Fralick, Pam Poyntz, and Karen Beaulieu. Canadian Cancer Society (Simcoe-Muskoka Community Office)
The Daffodil Fashion Show will take place on Thursday, April 19, 2018 at Hawk Ridge Golf & Country Club. Doors open at 6:00pm, and the show begins at 7:00pm. Tickets are $25.00 and will be available at all of the eight participating stores: Eclipse, Fashion Therapy, Joseph Men’s Clothier, Just Elaine’s, Mariposa Market Scent Shop, Northern Reflections, Simply Special, and Studio Eleven.
Included in the show is a runway of local boutique fashions, guest speaker, a fruit and cheese plate, choice of tea or coffee, cash bar, and popular silent auction tables. The goal is to raise funds and awareness for the Canadian Cancer Society and the Wheels of Hope Transportation Program. Last year, 27 volunteer drivers drove 124 Orillia and Ramara clients 255,791 kilometers at a program cost of $73,956. The event tends to sell out fast, so make sure you buy your tickets early!
by Emily Bednarz
Canadian Cancer Society
Joseph Men’s Clothier