Breast Cancer: NYFW Charity Gala Fundraiser

One Man’s Ode to Mom

Imagine being a young mother with 3 children between the ages of 10 and 17, and faced with a diagnosis of a life threatening form of breast cancer? What do you do? When you’re Daniela Annuziata Laquidara, you commit to defying the odds and showing the doctors that gave you 2 years to live, that you aren’t going anywhere. This year’s New York Fashion Week Charity Gala Event was hosted by Philanthropist, Rick Galvin, to honor his Mother, Carol Gavin. I thought I’d take you there as if you were there … and using your favorite phone to save the memories!

Meredith with Addison Riecke, Jojo Siwa, and Aaron Carter — courtesy of @jenfrombk

When Rick was a young boy, he lost his Mother to breast cancer. This experience began to shape his destiny. Rick is now the manager of a young popstar lighting the world on fire with her Anti Bullying platform. His protege, Meredith O’Connor recently headlined the New York Fashion Week Charity Gala Event to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer. Rick Galvin and the celebrity headliners of his gala believe in honoring those women who are bravely facing these diagnoses with courage and a deep desire to share their stories to help others. They believe in keeping Carol Galvin’s memory alive and hosted a fabulous and inspirational Charity Gala at NYFW.

On September 12th, Meredith O’Connor and Aaron Carter hit the stage, with headline musical performances for the blockbuster event. Daniela was a featured honoree along with another courageous survivor, Bianca Curly Muniz. At the age of 23, she is on her second bout of breast cancer. Diagnosed at 11, she bravely battled back placing the disease firmly in remission for 10 years. Breast cancer has a way of coming back with a vengeance and that, it did. She’s a young woman faced with an impossible decision: Does she risk a double mastectomy or continue to fight the good fight as she has in the past with more traditional therapies? Bianca, an aspiring musician who focuses her message and inspiration on positivity, isn’t letting this second diagnosis prevent her from sending a message to those who are facing their own breast cancer battles. Her message is an uplifting one as she has faced this battle with grace and dignity and lives to bring hope to those who are suffering.

Elegant dresses from Bound by the Crown and Mimi Tran, courtesy of @noelvphoto and @lanaseyephotography

Her story mirrors that of Daniela. There’s a dark reality these victims must face and Daniela’s story is no exception. The mother of 3 young children was fortunate to have a loving and supportive husband, Alan, when she received her diagnosis. As he toiled at 3 jobs to pay the medical bills and keep food on the table, he lost his job and the family struggles to stay afloat. It’s a heartbreaking story as their 10 year old son, Christian, battles with depression while processing the difficulties his family has been forced to face with this brutal disease. Along with his two sisters in high school, it is difficult to have a normal teenage experience during this turbulent time. The whole family is constantly challenged by the realities of this disease.

These two women are the epitome of the face of breast cancer. It’s an all American story that plays out across the country with women of all ages facing critical diagnoses. The statistics are grim. One out of every eight women will be positively diagnosed this year. In the US alone, over 250,000 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in the next year alone.

Meredith O’Connor singing “Stronger” with Bianca Curly Muniz

When your life has been touched the way that Rick Galvin’s has, you do something about it. And, not just anything. Rick’s philanthropic heart, accompanied with the star power of Meredith O’Connor and her eager fans in attendance, as well as Aaron Carter, Jojo Siwa, Addison Riecke and more, made for a memorable evening. Rick planned to go big as he rented out the fabulous Playstation Theatre and Aaron Carter joined with Meredith in the festivities. The two musical stars sang their hearts out to raise money for these inspirational survivors and spread their message to raise awareness for breast cancer. Meredith belted out “Just The Thing” with her incredibly talented dancers from her musical video, “Stronger.”

As Meredith tours the world, selling out packed concert halls, she spreads her message to “Stay Weird” and stay true to yourself. As a young teenager who had her nose broken by a bully, she now openly shares her story to lift those who are feeling different and alone, as she used to feel. Meredith headlined the sold out Playstation Theatre, sharing her inspiration songs, each with a message to help her fans overcome their personal struggles. She has a devoted following and hasn’t allowed success to change her in any way! She’s one of the most humble popstars I’ve ever come across with the mindset of an old soul. She has a way of making everyone feel comfortable with her kindness and generosity of spirit.

The packed house was treated to a fabulous runway fashion show with designs from Mimi Tran, Richie Rich, BBTC Couture, Rutu, Bhonsle, and All Wicked Things. Rick and Meredith, with their hearts of gold, believe in supporting those who are new to the runway scene. With the theme being one of “Sustainable Fashion,” the designers put on a show that was quite the spectacle. Meredith looked stunning dressed head to toe in a fabulous design by Vietnamese designer, Mimi Tran. Known for her stunning, form fitting, cocktail designs that help women to feel beautiful by sculpting their beautiful shapes and sizes, she’s since moved into designing glamorous gowns and Meredith rocked the house in a two piece, winter white suit with gorgeous detailing. Rick was catwalk ready as well styled by designer Miranda Kurtishi.

Meredith and awesome Dance Troupe!

It was an uplifting night for a fabulous cause. Meredith O’Connor will continue to be working with the producers of the show on future productions, as well as Margo LaZaro, President of the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development-NY as Meredith is the NGOCSD-NY Honorary Adviser for Anti-Bullying in support of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals — to “Leave No One Behind.” As her music has changed lives already, her mission is a powerful one and one in which she is already busy changing the world. What an evening and what a cause. Follow along with Meredith on Twitter, Instagram, and MeredithOConnor.com.

You can find Catherine Grace O’Connell at CatherineGraceO.com. She is on Facebook, and Instagram and Twitter as @catherinegraceo. Tune in to Cat & Kaehler: Fiercely Empowering Women of All Ages Through the Lens of Midlife with Catherine and co-host Kathy Kaehler live every Tuesday at 2 PM EST/11 AM PST or download as a podcast on LA TalkRadio. You can find out more about The Fierce 50 Campaign and how you can help us and join the Revolution by sending an email to info@catherinegraceo.com.

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