From chemotherapy to the catwalk, cancer centre stage at New York Fashion Week

PHOTO: Reuters

Less than a week ago, Tiffany Schwantes, 34, was hooked up to an intravenous chemotherapy drip at her local cancer centre in Huntsville, Alabama, receiving treatment for cancer that has metastasized to her lungs.

On Saturday night, she strutted a catwalk draped in a pale pink strapless Dalia MacPhee ball gown for New York Fashion Week, one of 11 people with advanced-stage cancer transformed into models for one glamorous night in Midtown Manhattan.

Adjusting her chestnut-coloured wig in front of the mirror in her hotel room before the show, Schwantes said, "I feel good. I feel pretty."

The stay-at-home mom was diagnosed with stage-four cancer of the bile ducts and liver in 2012 when she was 29.

"I had just had my baby girl two years before, so I thought I was healthy," said Schwantes, whose son, Carter, is now 11 and daughter, Madison, is 7.

"Going from a young wife and mother to a full-time cancer patient was hard. I wasn't used to going to the doctor two to three times a week. I wasn't used to feeling so bad that I couldn't take care of my children."

Advanced-stage cancer patients take to runway at New York Fashion Week

  • The models, some of whom have had chemotherapy, surgery or radiation, danced their way down the catwalk to Destiny's Child's "Survivor," sporting floor-length gowns, diamond earrings, and topping off their looks with long lashes and striking makeup.
  • For just a few hours, all that was almost forgotten.
  • Less than a week ago, Tiffany Schwantes, 34, was hooked up to an intravenous chemotherapy drip at her local cancer centre in Huntsville, Alabama, receiving treatment for cancer that has metastasized to her lungs.
  • she strutted a catwalk draped in a pale pink strapless Dalia MacPhee ball gown for New York Fashion Week, one of 11 people with advanced-stage cancer transformed into models for one glamorous night in Midtown Manhattan.
  • Adjusting her chestnut-coloured wig in front of the mirror in her hotel room before the show, Schwantes said, "I feel good. I feel pretty."
  • The stay-at-home mom was diagnosed with stage-four cancer of the bile ducts and liver in 2012 when she was 29.
  • Cancer patient Lisa Layton of Portland in Oregon
  • Cancer patient Darla Rodgers from Salt Lake City in Utah
  • Bill Ramey, 60, of Greenwood, Indiana, was in New York for the first time to brave being the only man on the runway. He wore blue jeans and a black sweatshirt that read: "LIVE LIFE, LOVE LIFE."
  • Cancer patient Carolyn Murrah from North Richland Hills in Texas, one of a group of advanced-stage cancer patients to model in SMGlobal Catwalk presentation for Say Yes to HOPE, is fitted with false eyelashes during New York Fashion Week
  • Cancer patient Chelsea Shaver of Dallas in Texas poses after modeling during New York Fashion Week

For just a few hours on Saturday night, all that was almost forgotten. The models, some of whom have had chemotherapy, surgery or radiation, danced their way down the catwalk to Destiny's Child's "Survivor," sporting floor-length gowns, diamond earrings, and topping off their looks with long lashes and striking makeup.

The "Surviving in Fashion" event was put on by YES!, a non-profit organisation that provides support to anyone affected by advanced cancer, and SMGlobal Catwalk.

Bill Ramey, 60, of Greenwood, Indiana, was in New York for the first time to brave being the only man on the runway. He wore blue jeans and a black sweatshirt that read: "LIVE LIFE, LOVE LIFE."

"My goal is to make it down and back on stage and remain upright," said Ramey, who was diagnosed with stage-four colon cancer on Valentine's Day in 2013.

"My first thought was that I wouldn't be able to see my daughter graduate college or get married. Meeting my grandkids never even crossed my mind," Ramey said. He then smiled.

"I got to do all three this summer."

After taking a deep breath, Ramey said, "I've accepted the fact that I'll probably die from cancer. But God has given me some extra time, and this is my way of paying it forward."

Schwantes, whose husband of 13 years was there to support her, said she hoped the show would inspire others to feel as good as she did for the night.

"We get one night to dress in beautiful gowns and amazing jewelry and just have fun. It gives us a night to feel like we are more than just a cancer patient," Schwantes said. "I hope they can see me, still going strong after five years, and it gives them a little hope."

More about

cancer
Purchase this article for republication.

VIDEOS YOU SHOULD WATCH

  • #Joeyjios: We try bubble tea mala hotpot and bubble tea toast

    Full story: http://www.asiaone.com/food/we-try-bubble-tea-mala-hotpot-and-bubble-tea-toast-guess-which-ones-got-us-hooked Mala and bubble milk tea within the same hotpot? What about bubble tea on toast? Who even comes up with these ideas?! This week on #Joeyjios, we give these dubious food creations a taste-test to see if they're worth your time, money and calories. #bubbletea #bbt #boba --- Read more: http://www.asiaone.com/ FOLLOW us on - Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/asiaonecom - Twitter: https://twitter.com/asiaonecom - Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/asiaonecom/ EMAIL: For story leads, business enquiries, contact asiaone@mm2entertainment.com
  • Thirstdays: Where we talk weird dates and wild fantasies

    Full story: https://www.asiaone.com/entertainment/thirstdays-where-we-talk-weird-dates-and-wild-fantasies Ooo, it's been a hot week and the thirst is real at AsiaOne. Join Le En and Bryan as they chat about weird dates, constant 'cravings', and Beyonce's thigh gap! And they are quenching that thirst with a cup of root beer float to celebrate the return of a certain fast food restaurant. Thirstdays is a fortnightly AsiaOne #entertainment series where our hosts Le En and Bryan give you a peek into their personal lives while they satisfy their thirst over a drink, have a no-holds-barred chat, and do fun things. #gossip #confessions #realness --- Read more: http://www.asiaone.com/ FOLLOW us on - Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/asiaonecom - Twitter: https://twitter.com/asiaonecom - Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/asiaonecom/ EMAIL: For story leads, business enquiries, contact asiaone@mm2entertainment.com
  • Don't Say Cannot Ep4: He beats people up, but for the country

    Full story: http://www.asiaone.com/singapore/dont-say-cannot-delinquent-national-wrestler He used to beat people up, simply because he had "too much energy" to expend. Now, he still beats people up - but for the country. Meet 24-year-old #Singapore national wrestler Toh Xin Ran. Seeing the number of medals that he has been awarded and the respectful manner in which he now interacts with his wrestling coach, it is hard to imagine that Xin Ran used to be a troubled kid in his younger days. #wrestling #sportsman --- Read more: http://www.asiaone.com/ FOLLOW us on - Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/asiaonecom - Twitter: https://twitter.com/asiaonecom - Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/asiaonecom/ EMAIL: For story leads, business enquiries, contact asiaone@mm2entertainment.com
  • #Joeyjios: Taste-testing The Alley Luxe and CHICHA San Chen

    Full story: https://www.asiaone.com/food/alley-luxe-and-chicha-san-chen-opens-week-heres-what-try A Michelin-standard bubble tea for $4.70? A drink that looks like the Northern Lights? This week, #Joeyjios her colleague Le En to check out two new bubble tea (BBT) stores that are opening along Orchard Road. Which will they prefer? Watch to find out. #Thedeerishere #TheAlley #Chichasanchen #Boba --- Read more: http://www.asiaone.com/ FOLLOW us on - Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/asiaonecom - Twitter: https://twitter.com/asiaonecom - Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/asiaonecom/ EMAIL: For story leads, business enquiries, contact asiaone@mm2entertainment.com
  • Office Tea Episode 5: Bosses and Things

    It’s been a few weeks - let’s find out if the higher-ups of AsiaOne have any regrets about hiring Le En. Efforts were made to make nice, charity is involved and work is never-ending still. Follow and subscribe so you won't miss a single episode of our new series, Office Tea! To catch more of her antics, follow her @goofy_feline! --- Read more: http://www.asiaone.com/ FOLLOW us on - Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/asiaonecom - Twitter: https://twitter.com/asiaonecom - Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/asiaonecom/ EMAIL: For story leads, business enquiries, contact asiaone@mm2entertainment.com
  • #Joeyjios: DIY your way into mum's heart this Mother's Day

    Full story: https://www.asiaone.com/women/joeyjios-diy-your-way-mums-heart-mothers-day Mother’s Day is this Sunday! Have you gotten mum a gift yet? This week on #Joeyjios, Joey tries her hand at DIY projects that’s thoughtful, useful and inexpensive. #Mothersday #DIY --- Read more: http://www.asiaone.com/ FOLLOW us on - Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/asiaonecom - Twitter: https://twitter.com/asiaonecom - Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/asiaonecom/ EMAIL: For story leads, business enquiries, contact asiaone@mm2entertainment.com
  • Don't Say Cannot Ep3: He 'sees' the world with the help of tech

    Full story: https://www.asiaone.com/singapore/dont-say-cannot-he-may-be-blind-he-can-text-faster-you Edwin Khoo, 43, surprises friends with the speed at which he types on his phone. The reason? He's been blind since birth. But #technology has been the game-changer for Edwin in navigating the world around him despite his #disability, allowing him to #travel and even host his own online #podcast. --- Read more: http://www.asiaone.com/ FOLLOW us on - Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/asiaonecom - Twitter: https://twitter.com/asiaonecom - Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/asiaonecom/ EMAIL: For story leads, business enquiries, contact asiaone@mm2entertainment.com
  • Office Tea Episode 4: The Dress Code

    It’s in the employee handbook - but does ANYONE actually read and follow the dress code? Are calves too scandalous? Le En puts on Athleisure and tries to get away with it! Follow and subscribe so you won't miss a single episode of our new series, Office Tea! To catch more of her antics, follow her @goofy_feline! --- Read more: http://www.asiaone.com/ FOLLOW us on - Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/asiaonecom - Twitter: https://twitter.com/asiaonecom - Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/asiaonecom/ EMAIL: For story leads, business enquiries, contact asiaone@mm2entertainment.com
  • Caryn Cheng finds the best deals at IMM's Greater Savings Home and Furnishing Sale

    Full story: https://www.asiaone.com/singapore/5-couples-share-most-expensive-items-they-have-ever-bought-their-home AsiaOne challenges Caryn Cheng to find the best deals at the upcoming #IMM Greater Savings Home and Furnishing #Sale. IMM's Greater Savings Home & Furnishing Sale will start May 13 to 19. With 20 per cent off storewide at Best Denki and discounts of up to 50 per cent at stores such as INKAGU Outlet by Picket & Rail, Linen Gallery Outlet and Red Apple from May 17 to 19, this epic sale is not to be missed. Address: 2 Jurong East Street 21, Singapore 609601 Opening hours: 10am to 10pm #brandedcontent --- Read more: http://www.asiaone.com/ FOLLOW us on - Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/asiaonecom - Twitter: https://twitter.com/asiaonecom - Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/asiaonecom/ EMAIL: For story leads, business enquiries, contact asiaone@mm2entertainment.com
  • #Joeyjios: I try a ballet-inspired workout despite my two left feet

    Full story: https://www.asiaone.com/singapore/joeyjios-i-try-ballet-inspired-workout-despite-my-two-left-feet Tendu, Arabesque and Grand Pliés? This week on #Joeyjios, I found out that these are in fact, not edible food dishes, but dance moves in ballet.  Watch as former professional ballerinas and co-founders of #BalletBody, Lisha Chin and Alison Carroll, take me through a snippet of their hour-long ballet-inspired workout while I try my best to keep up.  #Ballet #Barre #Fitness --- Read more: http://www.asiaone.com/ FOLLOW us on - Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/asiaonecom - Twitter: https://twitter.com/asiaonecom - Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/asiaonecom/ EMAIL: For story leads, business enquiries, contact asiaone@mm2entertainment.com

SERVICES