Event to benefit sickle cell disease research

By Shanderia K. Posey

Editor

STRUT models and their parents invite the public to attend its debut fashion show Aug. 14, to benefit sickle cell disease.

STRUT models and their parents invite the public to attend its debut fashion show Aug. 14, to benefit sickle cell disease.

There’s going to be some serious strutting down the runway Aug. 14, as the Cure Sickle Cell Foundation debuts its children’s fashion show called STRUT.

STRUT stands for Standing Together in Royalty, Unity and Truth.

The event begins at 4 p.m. with a pink carpet and celebrity networking, and the fashion show starts at 6 p.m. The location is The Railroad District, formerly known as Mardi Gras, 224 S. State St. in Jackson.

Dee Bookert Nixon and husband, Dr. Larry Nixon, are the founders of the Cure Sickle Cell Foundation. For the past 11 years, an annual 5K run/walk has been a signature fundraising/awareness event of the foundation. The foundation is making plans to create an after-school program and (Sickle Cell) Warrior Academy. The idea for a fashion show came to Dee Nixon in a dream.

“God showed it to me,” she said. “I try to do out-of-the-box events to benefit (sickle cell) survivors and children. I had never seen it done before – a children’s fashion show. The show is a natural progression of what we are trying to do as a family and foundation.”

The Nixons have two children – Jaden, 14 and Makaila Faith, 5. Jaden has sickle cell disease.

Having never put together a legit fashion show, Dee sought the input of Danielle Bryant, owner of MOD3L3SQU3 modeling agency, only a few months ago.

Months of hard work will be on display for the event that will feature several models, 12 of whom are sickle cell survivors. The Nixon kids will model as well. High-end designs from major designers will be modeled by children ages 4-16 and adults in four categories: afrocentric, after five and formal, candyland and sportswear.

New Orleans Fashion Week is an official sponsor. Other sponsors include Kahrna Creations, Woo Couture, Knotted Up Neckwear, Crowned in Royalty and Ccandy.

Dee Nixon plans for the upcoming event to have “all the bells and whistles” of high caliber fashion shows a person might see in New York or New Orleans. But the overall purpose of STRUT far exceeds designer clothing.

“With what we all have been going through in the world today in our very own communities, whether a person has sickle cell or not, I wanted us to come together to take a stand,” she said, explaining the meaning behind STRUT.

“This is much more than a fashion show.”

During rehearsals, children have attended workshops on character building, social media, posture, poise and anti-bullying. Parents have served on various committees in preparation for the show.

KaShonda Day’s son Aiden, 3, will be a model in the show. Day is a board member of the Cure Sickle Cell Foundation. The issue of raising awareness of sickle cell is near and dear to Day because her sister, now 37, has the disease.

“I’ve seen the effects of survivors and families,” Day said.

A cure for sickle cell disease is closer than ever before but funding is needed.

More than 2.5 million people in this nation carry the trait and 80,000 have the actual disease, which predominantly affects African Americans and people of Mediterranean descent. Sickle cell disease is an inherited blood disorder that affects red blood cells. Medical problems associated with the disease include anemia, jaundice, gall stones, stroke, pain episodes, priapism, lung tissue damage, sometimes fatal infections and damage to most organs.

As for the show, “We are trying to find innovative ways to get the community involved and different parts of the community,” Day said.

Aiden is very excited to participate, according to his mom. He’ll model bow ties from one of the sponsor designers.

VIP tickets are $40 and general admission tickets are $10. The VIP package includes a Celebrity Meet and Greet, Pink Carpet experience, amazing candy station, complimentary appetizers, mocktails and an adult slush cash bar. VIP attendees will also receive swag bags, an opportunity to visit various vendors and reserved seating at the show.

Tickets can be purchased online at www.curesicklecell.org or www.eventbrite.com.

Those who can’t attend the event can still contribute to the cause by donating online at www.curesicklecell.org.

Shanderia K. Posey can be reached at sposey@mississippilink.com.

Young STRUT models have worked hard in preparing for this weekend’s show. Pictured are Aviah Mims (from left), Zia Welchlin, Makaila Nixon and Layla D’asia Roberts.

Young STRUT models have worked hard in preparing for this weekend’s show. Pictured are Aviah Mims (from left), Zia Welchlin, Makaila Nixon and Layla D’asia Roberts.

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