Cancer Survivors Strut Their Prosthetic Limbs Down Runway

Category: Entertainment / Feb 08, 2013 7:54PM EDT
A group of young cancer survivors who dub themselves "Bionic Models" because of their prosthetic parts, ditched the open-backed hospital garb, many of them know all too well, to don their favorite look from some of Ecuador's best designers. Between the ages of 15 and 26, these brave young men and women who hail from across Latin America from Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica to Venezuela worked their strut at the Bionic Fashion Day where they hit the runway to raise money for other cancer patients in need of prosthetics. Cancer patients like 23-year-old Arli Mujica of Venezuela got the top model treatment at the special event in Quito on Tuesday (January 5) as they got professional hair and makeup done before selecting their favorite outfits from Ecuadorian designers including Abel Lara, Jimmy Egas, Chico Rodriguez and Dante, among others. Mujica used to enjoy playing soccer and running the hills in her hometown of Valencia. Now the young cancer survivor who lost her leg to bone cancer is a Paralympics category swimmer in her home country. She said for her the Bionic Fashion Show was a way to redefine how people see beauty. "People's concept of beauty involves a whole person, but they've all been worked on, they have silicone, they fix themselves here and there they get calf implants; at the very least they have contact lenses. And that's different, because we are all natural here," Mujica said. Twenty-five Bionic Models, both male and female, participated in the event which was organized by the Young People Against Cancer Foundation. Fifteen-year-old Yulexi Chavez, who walks with a crutch and wears a dark headscarf, came up with the idea after she lost her leg to bone cancer as well. The event not only raises money for other young cancer patients, it also gives these youngsters the chance to shine on the runway and smile for a day. "The idea of the event is to be show social inclusion. We want the kids to live a dream. A lot of them fight really hard and face great difficulties with this illness and we want them to feel happy, some joy and most of all see that fashion is inclusive," said the director of Bionic Fashion Night, Israel Barriga. And shine they did as they hit the runway full of confidence, many with crutches, others walking on their prosthetics, but all of them looking their best in their posh getups in front of a cheering crowd. One of the highlights of the night was when Chavez took the stage on her single crutch wearing an elegant long dress and snatched off her wig to reveal her bald head. The electrified crowd greeted her bold move and all of her brave model-mates with rambunctious applause. (Video Source: Reuters)