Rockin’ the runway for Hattie
By Matthew Strader, Enterprise Staff
Lay down, stop breathing, take out two major organs, have them replaced, recover, exercise, breathe, vomit, learn to walk again, see through the fog of medication, exercise, breathe, vomit, strain to make your muscles work, breathe, exercise, vomit, stand up, breathe….
Now found a fashion show fundraiser for 350 people.
Hattie Dunstan did. And with the help of her friends and family, the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis (CF) Foundation is $30,412.69 richer.
“This evening was started by allowing ourselves to dream,” Kim Alderdice, friend to Dunstan and director of the fashion show told the crowd of onlookers at the Couture Fashion For a Cure Found (CFforCF) show on August 26 at Glen Eagle Golf Club. “The creation of this event was built on Hattie imagining she could do something to help Cystic Fibrosis research in Canada, knowing her friends would be willing to help and support her, and like any fashionista, she wanted to produce her very own fashion show.” Dunstan said the idea for the fashion show began, like many other ideas, through a little copying.
“I participated in another fashion show fundraiser in March,” she said. “What a great opportunity to raise funds and awareness about CF and also do something I love… fashion.”
She said she had no idea what was about to happen. That she wasn’t aware the friends and family she inspired would be so dedicated to building success through their generosity and commitment. The first paragraph of this story is not simply for artistic effect. In essence, it’s a day in the life of a 22-year-old Caledon girl who had to endure a double lung transplant in order to survive CF. She did.
The operation was a success, Dunstan was given the gift of life on July 5, and now fashions the hope that her inspiration and her friends and families efforts will tackle the problems another CF sufferer might face before they have to suffer them.
“Here’s to new lungs, to fashion, to donors, to designers, to the community and beyond, to doctors, to science, to new styles and clothing trends, to the selfless people who made this all happen,” Dunstan wrote in her founders note.
This summer has seen her foundation, dubbed “Hattie’s Crew” by The Enterprise, put on a fundraising raffle, market booths, flower sales, bottle drives and the culmination, the CFforCF show, raising the aforementioned $30,000 and increasing awareness about organ donation and CF through smiles, information packages, and genuine care.
They involved an entire community in their cause.
And the community responded in spades.
All they say now is thank you.
Thank you to their premier, and executive sponsors. The businesses that lent support that without they would not have been able to complete their goals. The Kinsmen for volunteer efforts. The eight local fashion houses that donated clothing for the runway. And, to Scotia Bank volunteers who helped with their silent auction and raffle, and will donate their own cheque of $5,000 to the cause after a promise to match figures raised up to $5,000.
But most of all, they need to mention and thank the entire crew.
Hattie Dunstan (founder and inspiration), Kim Alderdice (director and co-ordinator), Rachael Grice (events co-ordinator), Lindsay Bishop (media/program design), Nikki Bettinelli (graphic designer), KC Heenan (MC and store liaison), Brittany Bolton (backstage manager), Kyla Zanardi (local media liaison), Steph Bertolin (sponsor liaison), Nicole Mcginn (stylist), Lauren Wak (decorator), Katherine McCool, Tasha Potter, Carly Gordon, Natasha Sicondolfo and Danielle Venditello.
For now, Dunstan will keep exercising, keep working her body to get used to her new lungs, and keep designing.
She’s also still dreaming.
“It’s just an idea,” she said. “But we thought because it’s so expensive after transplant, and a lot of people come from out of province and they need a place to stay that we need an apartment building downtown for transplant patients.
Equipped with subsidized apartments, information and resources, the dream for the building is a place for those who don’t need to occupy the time they need to spend healing doing research just to have a place to stay.
“We just want to help those families out. We found (during her own ordeal) there wasn’t a resource person, luckily my mom doesn’t work so she could do it all herself. But we want something in place to help those families.”
You can view the “Summer for Hattie” video on the website www.cfforcf.com and the video of the fashion show will be posted in early September.
And if your eye is drawn by continued stories of courage, humour and inspiration, follow Dunstan’s own blog at: icecreammaplesyrup.blogspot.com.