12-year-old ovarian cancer survivor starts fashion show to raise money for Lurie Children's Hospital

ByStephanie Wade WLS logo
Sunday, November 12, 2023
12-year-old cancer survivor starts fashion show to help other kids
A 12-year-old ovarian cancer survivor started a fashion show at the Museum of Contemporary Art to raise money for Lurie Children's Hospital.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- At just 12 years old, Rayniah Gregory is the brains behind this fashion show at the Museum of Contemporary Art.

A model and fashion designer herself, the Walk the Runway for Cancer founder is also an ovarian cancer survivor.

"I had cancer at 9 months in my right ovary. So, I had a tumor," Rayniah said.

Diagnosed at 9 months old, Rayniah is now under the care of Lurie Children's Hospital Star Program, which monitors late effects of pediatric cancer.

"I know I'm very lucky. There's a lot of moms out there that are not lucky like I am. And, we just want to be supportive and give back," said Susan Gregory, Rayniah's mother. "The world is not very kind right now. So, you've got to do great things for people who really need it, and kids need it right now."

Rayniah says her own cancer journey inspired her to create a nonprofit.

"I've always been interested in fashion. So, I was like, 'Why don't I take two things that are related to me and make them into one big event?'" Rayniah said.

On Saturday night, she and other pediatric patients, like spunky 4-year-old Leia Godwin, starred in the show, modeling what they're made of.

"I am nervous, but I'm excited. So let's do it!" Leia said.

Her confidence beamed as she strutted down the runway. Leia was diagnosed with a rare kidney cancer.

"She has treatment five days a week. So, that's pretty exhausting, and this gives her a sense of normalcy and excitement, as she's doing something else that doesn't involve the hospital," said Laura Kagumba, Leia's mother.

All of the proceeds raised are benefiting the children's hospital to help other families on the all-familiar journey.

"These events mean so much, especially something like this where you have a family putting on something that has that personal connection," said Lurie Children's Foundation Development Coordinator Madeline Zandhuis.