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Sarasota Thursday, Jun. 3, 2010 7 years ago

Teen organizes fashion-show benefit for Moffitt

by: Maria Amodio Editor

Mackenzie Johnson has a busy couple of weeks ahead of her. She is taking final exams at Out-of-Door Academy, packing for a family vacation to Europe, preparing for boarding school in the fall, and, on top of all that, she’s organizing a fashion show at Saks Fifth Avenue.

Johnson’s summer plans may not sound like those of a typical teenager, but she’s not your average 16-year-old.

Johnson is currently in the process of planning a teen fashion show, “Cause on the Catwalk,” at Saks Fifth Avenue to benefit the Moffitt Cancer Center. What started out as an auction prize to hold a fashion show at Saks won by her mother has turned into a full-scale fundraiser, with donations coming in from all over the country.

“Mackenzie has taken this fashion show to a whole new level,” says her mother, Nora Johnson. “Saks was originally planning on having 40 people attend, but the guest list is already up to between 120 and 150 people.”

Johnson came up with the idea of using the event to raise money for a charity, and it didn’t take her long to decide on an organization. She immediately thought of the Moffitt Cancer Center, in Tampa, where her grandmother, Eugenia LaFleur, went when she was diagnosed with colon cancer.

“We’re very close,” says Johnson of her grandmother and favorite shopping partner. “I used to sleep over at her house so much that I started keeping a separate wardrobe there.”

LaFleur was diagnosed with colon cancer two years ago. Instead of her having to move to Tampa for her chemotherapy and radiation treatments, Moffitt made it possible for her to get her treatments in Sarasota.

“Having her close by was so important,” says Nora Johnson. “Especially for Mackenzie. She and her grandmother are practically attached at the hip.”

LaFleur’s cancer is no longer considered a serious case, and she is currently living on Siesta Key and helping her granddaughter plan for the event, which takes place June 8.

“My grandma has helped me with the e-vites and the press release,” says Johnson, who hopes to work at a fashion magazine some day. “She gives really good advice.”

Even with her grandmother’s help, Johnson still has a lot of work to do, but with her friends, family and the people at Saks helping her, she says she’s never felt overwhelmed.

“Everyone has been really great and supportive,” says Johnson. “It’s been a learning experience.”

If You Go

Cause on the Catwalk
What: The teen fashion show features summer 2010 fashions from Saks Fifth Avenue and benefits the Moffitt Cancer Center.
When: Noon Tuesday, June 8
Where: Saks Fifth Avenue, 3501 S. Tamiami Trail
Admission: Contributions will be accepted at the door.
Contact: Please RSVP to [email protected].

Contact Maria Amodio at [email protected]

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