|Didi Gregorius, Masahiro Tanaka, and the young models are ready for the runway. All Photos Courtesy of the New York Yankees - All Rights Reserved.
At Tuesday's HOPE Week event, Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman, Yankees General Partner/Vice Chairperson Jennifer Steinbrenner Swindal, and players Aroldis Chapman, Didi Gregorius, Masahiro Tanaka, Luis Severino, Domingo Germán and Kendrys Morales joined the founder of Runway Heroes, Rachel Goldman, at the iconic Kleinfeld bridal store in Manhattan where they surprised children with cancer and their families for a fashion show.
The Yankees helped the children prepare for their big day in the spotlight and then escorted them down the runway. Fashion designer Hayley Paige emceed the event.
|The Yankees, the young models, Runway Heroes founder Rachel Goldman (center) and fashion designer Hayley Paige (right) celebrating the worthwhile cause.
Runway Heroes (www.runwayheroes.com) is an organization that collaborates with top fashion brands to orchestrate runway shows featuring pediatric cancer fighters and survivors.
Founded in 2014 by Rachel Goldman, the organization looks to provide confidence-boosting experiences for children with cancer. In addition, all funds raised from its events are donated to childhood cancer research.
|Rachel Goldman receives the check from the Yankees Foundation as Yankees VP of Communications and Media Relations Jason Zillo (r.), Brian Cashman (2nd from l.), and Jennifer Steinbrenner Swindal (l.) look on.
Runway Heroes provides these youngsters an opportunity to feel the warmth of an esteem-building spotlight and be treated like the stars they are.
Runway Heroes collaborates with top fashion brands to orchestrate runway shows featuring pediatric cancer fighters and survivors.
|Aroldis Chapman and a lovely young girl on the runway.
Runway Heroes' models are given the red-carpet treatment. The experience starts a week before the show as the children are invited to pick out their runway attire. The morning of the event, the kids participate in a dress rehearsal and are visited by the “glam squad.” The participants are treated to a morning of pampering with nail, hair and makeup appointments, all while in their personalized robes.
After the kids are camera-ready, they participate in a photo shoot with a professional photographer.
|Runway Heroes Founder Rachel Goldman on the runway.
For the main event, the kids finally get to strut their stuff down the catwalk in front of family and friends. In clothes they personally picked out, these fighters have the chance to reclaim the confidence that cancer has stolen from them.
One mother posted on social media about her daughter’s experience, “Claire was blessed with an incredible day where she was able to show many little fighters there is always hope. That it’s possible to take all the fear, frustration and pain and use it as motivation to chase your dreams.”
|Didi Gregorius with a courageous young lady on the runway.
In the five years since its inception, Runway Heroes has hosted eight major events throughout New York City, with over 300 children having the chance to walk the runway. The nonprofit has collaborated with fashion powerhouses such as Bloomingdale’s and Ralph Lauren and recently partnered with the iconic Kleinfeld bridal salon to host their most recent runway show in December.
Its event, which will be featured on TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress later this year, gave 30 little girls the opportunity to model designer dresses at the popular shop.
“These kids don’t get to be themselves very often, and I think that Runway Heroes allows them to do that,” said one volunteer. “I think it allows them to show who they are and really show their personality.”
Runway Heroes organizes shows for both boys and girls, and has participants from all the major pediatric hospitals in the New York City area. The nonprofit has already raised over $150,000 and is looking to double its number of runway shows in 2019.
|Brian Cashman leads his new friend down the runway.
|Masahiro Tanaka waves while leading this young lady down the runway.