Over two dozen cancer survivors strutted their stuff on Friday for Maimonides Medical Center’s ninth annual Pink Runway fashion show, which honors the patients, doctors and donors at the hospital’s Breast Center during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
“Each year, Pink Runway unites doctors, patients, and families in the battle against breast cancer and celebrates the life-saving clinical care provided every day at Maimonides Breast Center,” said Maimonides CEO Kenneth Gibbs, in a statement. “It is a true honor to celebrate Pink Runway’s 9th anniversary, and we look forward to honoring our incredible patients, survivors, and dedicated oncologists for years to come.”
The Breast Center opened in 2010 and was the first free-standing, fully-accredited breast cancer center in Brooklyn. Three years later in 2013, the first models took to the runway at the inaugural Pink Runway event, which was launched as a fundraiser for the award-winning cancer center. Over the years, local brands and designers have donated everything from ballgowns to adaptive post-surgery clothing to the annual runway show.
This year, each of the 17 models who took to the catwalk were survivors who were treated at Maimonides, according to the hospital. In glittering gowns in all colors and styles, the women celebrated themselves and the event’s featured honorees, who have dedicated their lives and careers to treating and curing cancer. Three Maimonides physicians — Dr. Kevin Becker, chief of the Cancer Center; Dr. Adriana Corben, vice chair of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine; and Dr. Fleure A. Gallant, a radiation oncologist — were recognized at Friday’s event.
“Pink Runway is a true testament to the strength and resiliency of our breast cancer survivors,” said Dr. Patrick Borgen, the head of the Breast Center. “As doctors, the ultimate proof of our work is being able to see our patients walk down the runway, celebrating life alongside their family and friends.”
Borgen, who is also the Chair of the Department of Surgery at Maimonides, has headed the Breast Center since the beginning. In addition to its award-winning surgical and diagnostic departments, the Breast Center also offers genetic testing for the family members of breast cancer patients who may be at higher risk, counseling, and post-treatment sexual wellness care in collaboration with Maimonides’ Pelvic Floor Center.
The fashion show is more than just a fundraiser — for cancer patients, getting fussed over by hair and makeup teams and dolled up in designer duds is a boost for morale and self-esteem, event organizer Michael Brincat told Brooklyn Paper last year.
“If you look good, you feel good,” said Brincat, whose mother died from breast cancer in 2003, ahead of the 2021 fashion show. “I make sure these women feel the way I would want my mother to feel on a pink runway.”
The 2020 Pink Runway show was held virtually as the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic swept through New York City — but the show was back in-person at Maimonides Park last year, and was held for the first time this year at the Dyker Beach Club. The pandemic hit Maimonides — and the Breast Center in particular — hard, temporarily shutting down “elective” breast surgeries and forcing many women to delay or go without screenings.
Even so, the Breast Center treats up to 22,000 people per year, and had treated more than 228,000 patients as of last year, when it celebrated its tenth anniversary.
“At Maimonides, our dedicated team of doctors and nurses are proud to be able to provide world-class care, right here in Brooklyn, and Pink Runway helps make that possible,” said Borgen.