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Having had close encounters with the disease, fashion designers join breast cancer gala

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Having had close encounters with the disease, fashion designers join breast cancer gala
Jasmine Maierhofer wearing Cary Santiago

THE FASHION world shows again that it can make the world a better place not just on the outside but through a richer inner life as well, with the Fashion Can Serve benefit, slated to be held at the Raffles Makati Hotel on Oct. 8, at the start of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Having had close encounters with the disease, fashion designers join breast cancer gala
Jasmine Maierhofer wearing Cary Santiago

Fashion Can Serve is a yearly gala of the ICanServe Foundation, which this year tapped designers JC Buendia, Ito Curata, Cary Santiago, Vania Romoff, Mia Arcenas, and Rosenthal Tee, who will show off their Holiday 2017 collections for the event. Fashion Can Serve returns with a powerful new message for 2017: “WhyWeFight.”

“Last year’s show had the theme ‘We Don’t Walk Alone,’ and the muses walked with a family member or friend who accompanied them on their journey battling the cancer,” said ICanServe Foundation Chairwoman Libet Virata. She adds, “Our theme this year is ‘WhyWeFight’ and our muses will include a mother and her young child, or grandmothers and grandchild. That’s how the show differs from last year’s. We also have some supporters who walk in honor of a family member or friend who passed away.”

“Our theme emphasizes the reason why persons diagnosed with breast cancer choose to fight: They do this for their spouses, children, and grandchildren,” says ICanServe Foundation President Tang Singson.

Maureen Wroblewitz, the first Filipina to win Asia’s Next Top Model, is the face of Fashion Can Serve 2017. Her mother, a former ICanServe volunteer, succumbed to breast cancer, and it’s in her memory that Ms. Wroblewitz is supporting the foundation.

Having had close encounters with the disease, fashion designers join breast cancer gala
Rosenthal Tee (R) — standing next to Miss InterContinental Philippines 2017 Katarina Rodriguez who is wearing one of her designs — joined because her assistant has breast cancer.

Designer Cary Santiago also has a personal reason for his participation. “I am joining this show since cancer survivors are so close to my heart. I have a sister who is a cancer survivor. It gives me great joy lending my time and dresses to this worthy cause,” he said.

Rosenthal Tee has also had a close brush with the disease. “The reason I joined Fashion Can Serve this year is, my main assistant is actually a survivor of breast cancer. We only found out she had breast cancer late last year; it was already Stage 3,” she explained. “Luckily we were able to find her the help to do chemotherapy and have the breast removed, and now she’s recuperating well so far. It hits so close to home because she’s someone I encounter every day and she’s like family.”

Among the survivors and supporters who will lend their time to grace this year’s runway are Margie Moran Floirendo, Gloria Diaz, Solenn Heusaff, Jasmine Curtis-Smith, Katarina Rodriguez, Tootsy Angara, WynnWynn Ong, Techie Velasquez, Mila Camus, Sandy Moran, and Sabrina Panlilio, among others.

“Our show highlights that breast cancer does not equate to a death sentence — it is curable, most especially if caught at an early stage,” said Ms. Virata.

In support of this, the foundation’s flagship program, “Ating Dibdibin,” aims to make partnerships with local government units to teach their constituents how to administer breast self-examinations. — Joseph L. Garcia