CC Blog Interview with Fashion Fights Cancer Master Class
CC:What is Fashion Fights Cancer?
TC:Fashion Fights Cancer, Inc. (FFC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that partners with the international fashion community to raise awareness and funds for cancer research and to provide innovative therapeutic programs for cancer patients and survivors.
CC:What Does Fashion Fights Cancer Do?
TC: FFC is implementing a variety of initiatives that engages the medical and fashion communities to help combat this disease and to support patients throughout their treatment. Its mission is to nurture the minds, bodies, and souls of cancer patients and survivors through fashion and design-oriented activities. We also do yoga and wellness programs too.
CC: Why did you start Fashion Fights Cancer?
TC: When I was 25, I had a lump in my groin and I thought it was cancer. I cannot tell you the idmidiate fear that came over me, especially because a friend’s brother just died at the tender age of 26 from cancer. Thank God it turned out not to be cancer but a cyst. I don’t think people realize that for every physical reaction, you will have an equal or greater emotional and physiological reaction. I think you must fight on all fronts when dealing with cancer. In my opinion, the mental strength is the most important part to beating cancer. You can’t beat anything if you don’t beat it in your mind first. You have to remind yourself this is temporary and this too shall past. And it will! It seems that your world is crashing down but it’s not going to beat you. This is what our program does. It helps patients to strengthen their minds and spirits, by taking their mind off their stress and problems that cancer can create.
(Fashion Fights Cancer Master Class with Pamela Love)
“Fashion Fights Cancer is such an amazing and inspiring organization when it comes to helping cancer patients and survivors enrich their mind and body. When I learned about all of the great opportunities the FFC has to offer, I couldn’t wait to get involved.” Fashion Designer Christian Siriano
(Patients designing with CFDA and FFC Board Member Pamela Love)
CC: Is there a cost to attend Fashion Fights Cancer Master Classes?
TC: No, all patients and survivors can attend classes for free. We ask patients to join our mailing list and sign up because the classes fill up pretty fast! We send an invitation out and the class gets full. We have a program for kids 11 -18 years of age that deal with cancer. That program will start in 2017. Parents can attend the class with their children.
CC: Who can attend the Fashion Fights Cancer Master Classes?
TC: FFC Master Class is open to all patients and survivors. Our FFC Color Ribbon represents the colors of all cancer in alphabetical order. We accept patients no matter what cancer or gender they are.
CC: Who are some of the designers that support FFC?
TC: Wow, there are so many! We have done classes with Michele Obama’s DNC dress maker Tracy Reeses, CFDA Winner Pamela Love with special guest and board member Leandra Medine of Man Repeller, Super Model Saskia de Brauw, Dress Maker Carmen Marc Valvo, The late Oscar De la Renta, Christian Siriano, Samira Nasr have been extremely supportive throughout the years. It’s really beautiful to see these famous designers who you read about in magazines and see on TV, come and give themselves to the program. Most designers are so impressed with the patients design level and creativity! The international fashion community has been great in supporting FFC also, such as designers like YDE from Copenhagen Christopher Bates, Topshop and Sonia Rykiel.
CC: What do you guys create in the Class?
TC: We create everything from leather bags to wool coats. The patients have a complete understanding of the project concept that the designer is going to layout and they execute it with no problems. Patients get to take his or hers design home with them.
CC: What are some of the problems that cancer can create?
TC: Well research shows that worry can create stress and stress can cause all types of problems in the body from heart disease, high blood pressure, and many more negative affects on the body. Fighting against any kind of illness with stress on top of it just isn’t good. The body needs all it defenses to be ready, relaxed, and rested to win a fight. Anytime you use your hands to create, it is very therapeutic. Also when your mental awareness is in the moment of designing and your not thinking about the problems of cancer, the past and the future it is great. Cancer can consume your every thought and that in itself can be a problem. You need time to give you mind a break from the worry and the fear.
CC: What are some concerns that patients talk about?
TC: Patients talk about how hard it is to tell their families that they have cancer. Some of the patients don’t want to be a burden to their family and are ashamed to tell their families. In conversation, I try to let the patients know that their families will love them no matter what they are dealing with. Some patients are afraid to tell their social workers and doctors of things that their bodies are going through, of fear that they may sound crazy, but I tell them that the social worker and doctors love to hear what is going on with you and appreciate feedback from their treatment.
CC: What advice do you have for a person whose family member or friend is going through cancer?
TC: My advice would be always treat the person dealing with cancer the same. Show sympathy yes, but the thing that patients want the most is to feel whole and normal. They want to be treated the same before their life was interrupted by cancer. So, if you guys went out shopping every other week, go shop, if you went to a park every week, go to that park. Keep all daily activities the same as possible! Fashion Fights Cancer has seminars and classes for family members and friends, to help them deal with the stress of their love ones going through cancer.
Keep routines the same. After you seek treatment from a professional, get that person into a support group of some sort. You can alleviate fear and anxiety just by surrounding yourself with people who love and care about you. Also, by being around survivors you will see that many people survived the ordeal of cancer and you will too!
CC: Can hospitals and clinics sign up for the program?
TC: Yes, our survivorship program will go any where in the world, well almost anywhere. If doctors and oncologist want to speak to us about our program they can email us at Info(at)fashionfightscancer.org.
CC:How can people get involved?
TC: We are always looking for volunteers. If you are a designer, seamstress, pattern maker or photographer, we could always use your help. If you’re not skilled in fashion, we also do events that we can use a helping hand with.
CC: Can individuals donate?
TC: Yes, we are always appreciative of donations. If you buy something from Closed Clique that is a way to donate or you can flat out donate on Fashion Fights Cancer.org. We take physical donations of working industrial sewing machines and gently used fabrics. We also accept gently used designer articles of clothing and shoes too.