Last week I had the pleasure of attending and co-hosting Designing Hope in Little Rock, Arkansas. The amazing fashion show fundraiser is the brainchild of designer Linda Rowe Thomas. The event raises money for Camp Sunshine and the Burn Center at Arkansas Children's Hospital.
First of all, I love Little Rock. Every time I fly into that city I can't sit still. The wonderful folks at the Capital Hotel always hook me up with an amazing room but I can hardly enjoy it because I can't help but get out and walk around the city. I haven't made it over to the Clinton library yet (maybe next time), but the revitalized downtown is a wonderful mix of history and innovation. From museums to a beautiful waterfront, there is a little something for everyone downtown.
But I digress. My trip to Little Rock was all about Designing Hope. Let me tell you a little bit about my friend Linda. Linda is originally from Douglassville, Texas. She is a self-taught designer and mother of two who lives with hand and facial scarring resulting from a house fire at the age of 2. She passionately uses her success in the fashion industry to give back and support young burn survivors. Linda created this annual event to not only raise funds for Camp Sunshine but also to bring awareness to an often unnoticed cause as well as aide in future lifesaving treatments and research for burn patients.
Linda has dressed me on several occasions - this woman is the real deal! Her designs have been featured at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in New York and on runways and celebrities all over the country.
The event beneficiary is Camp Sunshine. Camp Sunshine was founded in 1991 by a nurse who worked at the Burn Center who had the desire to develop a camp for children who survived burn injuries. The goal of the camp is to promote physical and emotional healing as well as growth and development of burned children. Camp Sunshine has given an opportunity for burn survivors across the state of Arkansas to establish lasting friendships, experience personal growth and develop life-long memories. In the past 18 years, the camp has grown from four campers to over 50 participants, not including approximately 70 volunteers and counselors.
With Linda and my beautiful co-host, Miss Alyse Eady of KTHV
A highlight of Designing Hope is the fashion show. In addition to some of Little Rock’s beautiful models rocking the runway, local firefighters also get in on the action and model suits. It was a great and fun evening and I look forward to heading back next year!