WESTFIELD, NJ —  Surrounded by friends, family and supporters, sixteen survivors of breast cancer — men and women — starred in a special Susan G. Komen for the Cure spring fashion event at the Lord & Taylor in Downtown Westfield Sunday night, one week before the 9th Annual Susan G. Komen North Jersey Race for the Cure.

“It’s a beautiful evening to celebrate the survivors,” Kelly Witkowski, executive director of Susan G. Komen North Jersey, said. “But also, more importantly, to give hope to other men and women going through their journey currently.”

The event was especially poignant for John Lunardo, who met another male breast cancer survivor for the first time before heading down the runway.

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“It was awesome,” Lunardo said. “I feel blessed, thankful and grateful, and I’m ready to kick butt.”

Some of the models were “forever fighters,” people with stage 4 or metastatic cancers who don’t consider themselves “survivors” as much as “surviving." “Forever fighters” will get their own special medals for the first time at this year’s race.

Four Students for the Cure ambassadors, who range in age from 12 to 17, helped at the fashion show, including 13-year-old Mady Most, whose team has raised $23,000 since 2014 toward the cause.

“I’m here because my grandmother is breast cancer survivor and I want to do whatever I can so that other people don’t have to suffer the way she did,” Most told the crowd.

Fashion show attendees also enjoyed light bites, shopping, raffles, an “I Will Survive” sing-along and more.

In addition to Lord & Taylor, which hosted the fashion show for the sixth year in a row and created the models’ looks, Witkowski thanked Salon Visage for donating their time to style the models’ hair and Romola’s, Hershey Subs & Deli, Applebee’s, Westfield Seafood, Bovella’s Pastry Shoppe Vine Ripe Market and Xocolatz for donating the food.

TAPinto.net is a proud media sponsor of the 9th Annual Susan G. Komen North Jersey Race for the Cure.