(NEWS10) – I first met Rachael Murray in 2013, when she was the leukemia and lymphoma society’s girl of the year. The high school senior had finished treatment for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and was supposed to inspire the adults in a major fundraiser.
But she wanted to do more.
“Although I still had a lot of recovery to go through I was starting to feel better and I was having so much fun being a part of this campaign that I thought to myself what can I do to give back as well,” Murray said.
She came up with the idea of Trending 4 Fashion what made this fashion show unique were the models: each one a cancer patient, their family member or their caregiver, showing off not just clothes, but how far they’ve come.
“Yes it’s a fundraising event but to me the most important aspect of it is that it’s a big celebration,” Murray said.
Rachael continued planning the fundraiser for the next four years while away at college, even during her study abroad.
“Planning it from London was definitely tough with the time change but we worked it out,” Murray said.
Trending 4 Fashion has raised $80,000 so far, at first for the leukemia and lymphoma society and now the Melodies Center at Albany Medical Center.
“We used to come here on almost a daily basis when I was in treatment, and the Melodies Center was never a place I was afraid to come to, if anything the Melodies Center was a place that made me feel better and if I didn’t feel good this was where I wanted to be,” Murray said.
Hospital staff said donations like Rachael’s help with everything from games and treats for the kids in the hospital, to gift cards for gas and groceries for families struggling with bills.
“Having access to this money has been such a tremendous asset to us, to be able to say don’t worry, we have this covered, we have people in the community who have thought of you care about you and want to make sure you have what you need,” Angie Silipigno said.
Five years now in remission, Rachael was officially put into survivorship, but she’ll never forget the people who helped save her life.
“I’m so happy that I’ve been able to create these relationships and even though I’m not in treatment anymore these are forever relationships that will never go away,” Murray said.