Students danced down a runway Thursday night to country, rock, pop and reggae at Fashion for a Cure, hosted by Chabad of Binghamton and Sigma Delta Tau.
The eighth annual fundraiser at Chabad supported Sharsheret, a national nonprofit organization that helps Jewish women facing breast and ovarian cancer. The organization creates a support network of peers and health professionals for women who have recently been diagnosed with or have an increased genetic risk for cancer. This year’s event raised close to $6,000 through a $7 entrance fee and donations, all of which went to Sharsheret.
This year’s keynote speaker was Molly Sigel, who graduated from Binghamton University in 2015 with a degree in human development. An ovarian cancer survivor herself, she said Sharsheret was a constant source of support and assistance throughout her battle with cancer.
“Sharsheret has been there for me in the best of times and the worst of times, and has truly made this experience easier for my family and me,” she said. “From the peer supporter Sharsheret put me in touch with to my many conversations with the support team, Sharsheret has been there through it all.”
Heather Hulkower, a member of SDT and a senior majoring in human development, helped organize the event. She said that this year’s fashion show was the largest ever, and hosted nearly 500 attendees. According to her, the models were girls from Chabad and various BU sororities, and the clothing came from their personal closets. The fashion show, she said, was a way to raise awareness.
“We feel like breast cancer, ovarian cancer, really any type of cancer is something that has impacted every single person,” Hulkower said. “No matter if it was a friend or a family member, you always hear about someone going through a disease like this.”
There were musical performances by BU a cappella group The Harpur Harpeggios (Pegs) and Arielle Biro, the president of Mu Phi Epsilon fraternity and a senior majoring in biology. Biro is a lymphoma cancer survivor, and she played the guitar and sang for the audience.
Members of Sigma Alpha Epsilon Pi, Phi Sigma Sigma, Phi Mu, Alpha Epsilon Phi and Delta Phi Epsilon were all represented at the show, and Hulkower said she was happy to see so many groups.
“I love just seeing everyone in Greek Life coming together for a common cause and working towards a charity together,” she said.
Gabrielle Sisino, a sophomore majoring in English, said she was especially touched by Sigel’s road to recovery.
“That was crazy because you just look at it and think ‘that could be one of us,’ it could be anyone you know,” Sisino said. “We think we’re untouchable because we’re young but it could be anyone.”
Rivkah Slonim, the director of education at Chabad at Binghamton, said the goals of the event were to educate people, raise money and awareness and encourage young college students to get behind a larger cause.
“I think every year it becomes more apparent that this event is very important,” Slonim said. “The fact that we’re having a guest speaker that is a recent graduate of Binghamton just underscores the way in which breast cancer and ovarian cancer is ubiquitous in the Jewish community. But in the larger community as well.”
Sigel added that she thought it was important to make her voice heard, and that this was a good place to do so.
“I speak tonight to show that a community can and will come together to fight for a common cause,” Sigel said. “I speak to show you that it is possible to do anything, even beat cancer.”