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Friends & Fashion event returns to the runway

Apr. 7, 2022, 9:16 AM

Models take their final runway walk at Friends & Fashion Monday at the Music City Center.
Models take their final runway walk at Friends & Fashion Monday at the Music City Center. (photo by Donn Jones)

by Paige Turner

Friends & Fashion, the annual spring fashion show and fundraiser coordinated by Friends of Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, returned this year on Monday, April 4, at Music City Center after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year’s event was themed “Celebrating 50 years of Friends through Fashion” in honor of Friends’ milestone anniversary of half a century supporting Children’s Hospital. Since 1972, the volunteer organization has been making a difference through fundraising, outreach and patient and family programs.

The fashion show, which typically features current Children’s Hospital patients, looked a little different this year with former patients who are now adults and Friends volunteers, past and present, walking the runway, representing Friends’ rich history of impacting the community’s children through the years.

A highlight of the day included Shawn Haile, president of Friends, announcing a new $1 million commitment to Children’s Hospital over the next three years to support the Division of Pediatric Psychology and pediatric rehabilitation initiatives.

“In honor of Friends’ 50-year anniversary, I’m proud to announce that our executive committee recently voted to pledge another $1 million to Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt,” said Haile. “The funds we will raise in the next few years will support the expansion of psychology services for patients and families and pediatric rehabilitation efforts at Children’s Hospital. The continued presence of volunteers at Friends & Fashion and other Friends fundraising activities allows us to support critical hospital programs like these.”

Fashions for the show were generously provided by Dillard’s and The Friends Shop.

Allison DeMarcus, Children’s Hospital Advisory Board member and former chair, served as emcee, and event co-chairs Shea Ghertner, Whitney Musser, Anna Peebles and Amanda Tolbert joined together onstage to share their personal experiences with Friends.

“The dedication the Friends’ leadership team has displayed during COVID-19 has been remarkable and has continued Friends’ legacy of commitment,” Meg Rush, MD, MMHC, President of Children’s Hospital, said to the crowd. “Despite not being able to hold in-person events for two years, you have still found creative ways to fundraise for the hospital and made sure free meals have been delivered to patient families each week and have responded to my every ask to support our staff with notes and cheer.”

“That passion and innovation isn’t new. You’ve been doing that for 50 years. From millions of dollars raised to thousands of volunteer hours given — the value the Friends organization has brought to Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt since 1972 is commendable.”

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