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Phi Delta Epsilon to host second Anatomy Fashion Show, fundraise for children’s hospitals

Photo Courtesy of Manasa Raghavan.

Instead of donning fashionable designs this spring, the models in UNC Phi Delta Epsilon's Anatomy Fashion Show will wear paint showcasing the human body systems in support of the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

UNC’s chapter of Phi Delta Epsilon, a national pre-medical fraternity, hosted its first anatomy-themed fashion show last year — the first North Carolina chapter to feature the national event. This year, the event will be held in the Great Hall of the Student Union on April 17 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The fraternity hopes to bring awareness to the work of Duke Children’s Hospital and Health Center in Durham this year. All proceeds raised from the event, from ticket sales to donations, will go directly to the hospital and its patients.

Emi Bleau, development associate of partnerships and cause marketing for Duke Children’s Hospital, said in an email statement that the money will help to provide vital resources for medical research, life-saving treatments, specialized equipment and compassionate care tailored to meet the health needs of children.

Hanna Salus, the current president of Phi Delta Epsilon and a junior at UNC, said the money also goes toward ensuring the patient has the most comprehensive care beyond just medical expenses.

“We’re really caring for the whole patient by providing things like music and art therapy or people coming in to play guitar and do crafts with the kids that’s going to take their care to the next level and ensure all their needs are being met, not just physical,” she said.

In the first 20 minutes of opening the donor portals on Feb. 21, Phi Delta Epsilon raised $1,000 and has already hit its initial goal of $5,000. The organization is now aiming to raise $10,000.

Manasa Raghavan, vice president of programming for Phi Delta Epsilon and a sophomore at UNC, saidthe fraternity has also received donations from local businesses and that student organizations will be involved with entertainment at the event.

The event is also an effort to raise awareness of the illnesses Duke Children's Hospital treats. Raghavan said the organizers of the event aim to have at least one model for all of the body systems, including one that will represent the illness of the chapter’s Miracle Patient that it sponsors each year.

Last year, Salus was the model for the chapter’s sponsored patient, Adeline. She said she was honored to be able to increase awareness of Adeline’s condition — Long QT Syndrome, a rare, potentially life-threatening heart rhythm disorder – through the fundraiser. Representing Adeline, Salus modeled a pacemaker alongside butterflies which were painted all over her.

“When I first met her, she was the sweetest girl,” Salus said. “It was just incredible to know that she has a life-threatening condition and to see her still be so outgoing and so willing to talk to anyone about everything was really inspiring.”

Gisella Frain, the secretary and risk management officer for Phi Delta Epsilon, was an artist for the event last year and said she appreciated the chance to be creative for a good cause. She said that because many in Phi Delta Epsilon are STEM majors, they don't get many opportunities to show their creativity. 

Phi Delta Epsilon is also offering the option to model or paint to anyone who wants to get involved in the community-wide effort. This year, they anticipate around 20 models walking the runway, as well as approximately 400 attendees. 

Many children from Duke Children’s Hospital attend the event and even choose to be models. Raghavan said she believes it is vital for the children to see that they’re not alone in their sickness and feel empowered by the models. She added that it's very special for children to see others "beautifying" their conditions.

“We try to make it a fun evening for everyone to relax but also for a lot of the people from Duke Children’s, for the community members there and for the children there to come and see that they do have a community that supports them,” Raghavan said. “They may not know all of us, but we all want to help them.”

@dailytarheel |

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