Most days I’m lucky if I change out of my sweats, so fashion has not been in the forefront of my life. But for one evening, I had the privilege of getting a taste of what is like to walk the runway during fashion week in New York City.
Granted, I don’t have chiseled features, I’m barely 5-feet tall, and I won’t tell you my weight! I had this amazing opportunity thanks to Suzanne Lindley, founder of Beat Liver Tumors, an organization that provides information, resources, support, and hope for anyone affected by liver tumors.
The fundraising event took place Feb. 7 in New York City during fashion week. I had a full weekend planned so only got to stay one evening, but it was really fun and inspirational to hear the stories of so many inspirational survivors. Alll of us were survivors either of liver cancer or another cancer that metastatized to the liver.
Suzanne knows where we’re coming from; she has been living with stage IV metastatic colorectal cancer for 12 years – and counting, turning a potentially fatal disease into a chronic one. After I published my book, From Incurable to Incredible, one of the featured survivors connected me with her.
Suzanne helped me find an interventional radiologist in my city who performed a procedure called Selective Internal Radiation Therapy (SIRT) several years ago. The relatively non-invasive procedure aims millions of radioactive microspheres directly to the tumor, obliterating it with little collateral damage. SIRT got rid of my tumor, which knock on wood, has not returned.
In my room, I was pampered like a princess by a hair stylist and makeup artist who transformed me into a more glamorous version of Tami. I hardly recognized myself! Then my designer (yes, we each had a designer who custom-made our outfits) came and helped me into my dress.
I could tell during the event how important it was for these women to feel recognized and made to look beautiful. Each had their own harrowing journey, and this was a much-needed break from cancer.
Let’s face it, when you have advanced cancer, beauty gets moved down the list of priorities. It can seem frivolous to think of such things when your life is on the line. The kind of attention we’re used to is being poked with needles and the cold hands of doctors examining us. So how refreshing it was to be catered to in this way and to have an audience of people applauding and supporting us!
The next morning, it seemed my carriage turned into a pumpkin as I woke up with a terrible cold and learned my flight was cancelled due to the impending blizzard. Luckily I caught one of the last flights out of LaGuardia and landed safely home to nurse myself back to health. So my Cinderella story had a happy ending.