5-Star Apparel Teams with National Pediatric Cancer Foundation

In support of the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation’s (NPCF) efforts to find less toxic treatments for childhood cancer, 5-Star Apparel is donating wardrobes for the nonprofit organization’s Fashion Funds the Cure runway shows to be staged in select malls and large venues around the country this year. Runway models are children battling cancer accompanied by professionals representing what they want to be when they grow up. Think Disney princesses, toy makers, ballerinas, doctors, teachers and plumbers.

“They’ll walk the runway in stylish 5-Star Apparel outfits before going backstage to change into their ‘dream job’ look,” says Dawn Zachman, director of development for the NPCF. Each show starts by introducing the local cancer patients who tell the audience their age, what type of cancer they’re battling and their hobbies. “Talk about the cutest darn picture of a little boy walking down the runway with an overalls flap hanging down, a plunger over his shoulder and the biggest smile you can imagine,” Zachman adds.

“It’s an honor to help these families have a day free from the stress of treatment,” says Debbie Baker, a spokesperson for 5-Star Apparel, noting that the company will wardrobe models, ages toddler to tween. “It’s such a beautiful opportunity to celebrate each child and their future.”

Simon Properties has also signed on as a sponsor of Fashion Funds the Cure, scheduling the shows at its largest malls for big exposure. About 250 to 300 ticketed seats are available for $100 for each show, but free passerby viewing—and donations—are welcome. “In a mall, you have so many people walking by or looking over a railing and can find out about the many problems related to pediatric cancer,” Zachman says. “We often have people walk up and say, ‘Hey, do you mind if I bid on your silent auction items?’ To which we reply, ‘Absolutely, come right in!’”

Since 1991, the NPCF has garnered millions of dollars in donations to fund clinical trials nationwide in 24 major research hospitals. The effort continues and the NPCF welcomes anyone to join its fight. Support is greatly needed, as Zachman notes government research funding only goes so far—only 4 percent is dedicated to children, in fact. “We hold many fundraisers and unite the community to make up for where government funding falls short,” she says, adding, “Nearly 95 percent of kids with childhood cancer will develop another major health issue, such as organ damage or other complication, by their 40s.” Zachman cites the dangerous, long-term effects of treating children with adult chemotherapy as a leading reason. “Think about it, we don’t even give our kids adult cold medicine,” she says.

Each runway show also features an alumni portion, where returning patients walk the runway wearing a T-shirt stating how many years since they’ve walked their first show. “Kids from the first show are coming back 16 years later to walk this year,” Zachman says. “It’s truly amazing the community that’s been created and the hope that’s been inspired.”

Baker encourages fellow childrenswear companies to support the NPCF. “We all get busy at work and wish we had more time to do something good for others, so now is your chance,” she says. “I would love for our industry to help fund the very important research of this amazing organization.”

For more information, visit NationalPCF.org or email DZachman@NationalPCF.org.

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