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Peru Project, Cornucopia Cancer Support Center raise over $10,000 for Angels on the Runway fundraiser

CLARIFICATION: UNC senior Kyla McConnell, with the Peru Project, and the Cornucopia Cancer Support Center jointly raised $4,500 before the Angels on the Runway fundraiser, but $10,000 in total when event proceeds are included. 

Though 3,000 miles away, the literacy problems of the Peruvian people were a topic of conversation in Chapel Hill last week.

UNC senior Kyla McConnell held a benefit at City Kitchen restaurant Thursday, April 10th,to raise money for the Peru Project, an organization she co-founded with her mother.

The benefit was a fashion show called Angels on the Runway, and McConnell said the models are all women from the community.

“We tried to get all different shapes and sizes, different stages of life’s journey. We tried to get a good mix,” she said.

The benefit also included a silent auction of art, weekend getaways, clothes and more.

Before the day of the event, ticket sales had already raised $3,000. An additional $1,500 was raised with corporate sponsorship and general donations. Attendees could also buy tickets at the door.

After the event, McConnell said the amount raised topped $10,000.

The Peru Project partnered with the Cornucopia Cancer Support Center in the Durham-Chapel Hill area to hold the event. The two organizations split the profit that was generated and McConnell said her organization would use it to help fund the building of a new library in Peru.

“We were just looking for another group to work with. I think it’s great to work with this organization... We can help people here and in another country all at once,” said McConnell.

McConnell founded the Peru Project five years ago. She said it started when, instead of going on a high school graduation trip to Paris, she and her mother decided to instead use their time and money to go to Peru.

“I speak Spanish, I’m actually a Hispanic linguistics major. I had a friend who was Peruvian and I asked what the village needed, and they said a library,” McConnell said.

She said the Peru Project helps build libraries and promote literacy and education to families in Peru. With the money raised by this event, the Peru Project will be working on building their second library.

McConnell said a reason she picked Peru was because she did not want a language barrier to hinder the work.

McConnell said sometimes people ask why she helps build libraries in Peru instead of helping people in this area. She said this was a way to do both.

The clothes worn during the fashion show were designed by Roxi Suger, of the clothing company Angelrox.

McConnell said the fundraising chair of the Peru Project heard of the designer and the group appreciated her social activism.

“We really loved the designer and what she stood for so we decided it was the thing to do,” she said.

Suger said she has been designing since she was 8 years old, which is when she learned how to sew. Suger’s beliefs match up with those of the Peru Project which is why she donated her time for the benefit.

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“I believe in education and I believe in reading. I also believe in giving back more, if you can,” Suger said.

Meredith Morgan, one of the models for Angels on the Runway, is a volunteer for the Cornucopia Cancer Support Center.

Morgan found out about this event through the center. She said she helped with set up for the event.

“I was aware of some of the early stages in the partnership,” Morgan said, “and I helped out with the silent auctions.”

Morgan said Cornucopia’s portion of the money raised will go to support the various non-clinical services provided by the center for free, such as massages, acupuncture and gentle yoga classes.