by Sally Cohen
Meghan Harrison, 18, of Ambler, whose health is much-improved after becoming very ill from Lyme Disease and several other tick-borne diseases, started a fashion show that now serves as the annual fundraiser for MontCoLyme (Montgomery County Lyme Information and Support Group). Meghan is currently being home-schooled, but she is hoping to be well enough to attend college as a freshman in either January or September of 2013.
The show is in its third year and is sponsored by Jefferson-Myrna Brind Center of Integrative Medicine. The show has grown every year, and Meghan said she still has trouble believing the large production it has become, including a raffle and silent auction. She continues to serve as Fashion Show Coordinator. (Meghan’s mom is Gretchen Harrison, former Director of Media Relations for Springside School who is now Director of Marketing for MontCoLyme.)
At this year’s show on May 5, El Quetzal, a boutique in Chestnut Hill, will be showing its fashions. Some of the models in the show are provided by the John Robert Powers Agency (JRP) in Center City, “and the others are what we call youth affected by Lyme disease,” said Gretchen. That phrase indicates that either the youth has Lyme herself or an immediate family member with Lyme.
The professional models will be showing Alexandria Hilfiger and Nary Monivang’s high fashion NAHM line (Alexandria is Tommy Hilfiger’s daughter who has suffered with Lyme disease) as well as fashions from an up and coming Philadelphia designer, Nicole Rae Styer.
Chestnut Hill Academy/Springside School parent Poonam Singhal will be showing her clothing from Rupalee, which means “Pretty Girl” in Hindi. Singhal co-founded and operates an outreach program that empowers women in certain villages of India to financially support themselves in a creative, fulfilling, and realistic manner since 1996.
Their line of sustainable and fair trade women’s apparel is quite lovely. The 35 Lyme youth will sport fashions from Banana Republic, Old Navy, El Quetzal and Insect Shield (a line of outdoor protective clothing). The show will be held on Saturday, May 5, at Montgomery County Community College in College Hall rooms 144/148/151. The silent auction and raffle starts at 3 p.m., and the fashion show begins at 4.
Part of the mission of the show is educational, and every year stories of the Lyme youth are shared. This year Hollywood actress and producer Amy Tiehel (who also has Lyme disease) is working with film students at Montgomery County Community College to film and put together snappy videos of some of the Lyme youth stories in their own words. These will debut at the fashion show, which also includes some male clothing.
Data from the Center for Disease Control show that Pennsylvania is number one in tick-borne disease in the U.S., and our southeastern area of the state is a hotbed. Early recognition and treatment are vital, yet Lyme often goes unrecognized and then misdiagnosed as fibromyalgia, Parkinson’s, rheumatoid arthritis, or chronic fatigue.
In children, neurocognitive/psychiatric disorders, ADD/ADHD, behavioral disorders, learning disorders, and other autoimmune disorders are prevalent. There are many ways to prevent the disease, and these will be shared at the show. The fashion show coincides with Lyme Disease Awareness Month, which is celebrated nationally and on a state level in May.
Questions about the show can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Ticket info at http://www.montcolyme.org/Lyme_Light_Fashion_Show.html