Ambitious high school student Bronwyn Lefebvre plans fashion show to raise funds for Lupus Ontario
Bronwyn Lefebvre is a high school student who will be attending Carleton University in the fall. She enjoys shopping, music and spending time with family and friends in Ottawa – a place she has called home for 18 years.
You’re currently spearheading an ambitious fundraiser for Lupus Ontario. Why is this cause so important to you?
I’ve been living with Lupus since the age of five and every year my school puts together a fashion show to raise funds for a desired charity, so I wanted to take this opportunity to raise money and awareness for Lupus Ontario.
In a way this event has allowed me to grow and realize that I am not the only one who is struggling with this disease. Once I started planning the event and placed my story in local papers and had my logo in Lupus Ontario’s newsletter, I began receiving emails from various women who also suffer from Lupus. They gave me their support and congratulated me on my efforts with the organization.
I’m planning this show not only for myself, but for the millions of others who are also suffering.
At first my school was apprehensive about allowing me to pursue running the show, because in the past, runners have not raised money for the charities, but in the end they gave in. My teachers haven’t been quite as supportive as I would like, and there have been phone calls home and to the guidance counselor because I’ve been working so hard with the fashion show; however, I catch up on weekends with the work I’ve missed. For peers, they have supported me 100 per cent and so has my family, which I am very grateful for.
As the event organizer and coordinator, I’ve been able to delegate tasks to my committee members, and taking on the ones that haven’t been completed myself, hosting modeling auditions, designing the logo and information package, planning the show, contacting various stores and local businesses who are interested in either showcasing their styles or sponsoring the show, collecting donations, running errands, setting up music… It’s definitely been a busy seven months but I wouldn’t change anything and am excited to see how it will all turns out.
How has having Lupus affected your everyday life?
Lupus is a disease that causes the body to not understand the difference between good cells and bad cells, so it attacks itself (for a full medical definition, please click here). When the disease is active (known as a flare) it can attack and affect any organ in the body.
For me, it has affected my heart, blood and brain. I’m not allowed to live a normal life like many teenagers my age. I often feel as though I never had a childhood because I was constantly in and out of the hospital, and the disease has caused me to suffer short term memory, making studying for tests and exams much more challenging.
Tell us a little bit about Voyage, St. Matthew High School’s fifth annual fashion runway show.
Voyage Fashion Show will be a night to remember with fashion from a variety of stores, designers and performance talent. Mix all that with good music and company and you get St. Matthew High School’s traditional event that will blow everyone away!
Stores to look forward to are: MEXX, Bluenotes, Costa Blanca, Joe Fresh, Christine’s Bridal, West 49, Stella & Dot Jewelry, Moore’s TipTop and Marka’s Boutique, plus various designers fro our very own student body including 1086, Diamond Gold and Jenny, and Megan & Raeanne Designs. Musical talent will include Ottawa’s very own Mike Kleff, Matthew McGeein, St. Matt’s Glee Club and Cheer team and another acoustic performance by Alenka, Breanna and Carl.
What are you hoping will come from this event?
I’m hoping to raise over $4,000 for Lupus Ontario and to make a fundraising name for my high school. This has been my dream to run the fashion show since grade 10, so I am hoping that all my work will pay off. The money raised will help those with Lupus live longer and better by delivering vital support, education, awareness and research.
Has the Ottawa community been very supportive of your cause?
I’ve learned you really need to be a salesperson in order to gain interest towards an event. Generally my close circle has been supportive but it’s been hard trying to reach out to the community.
At Local Tourist Ottawa, we like to celebrate the best of what the Nation’s Capital has to offer. Can you tell us about your perfect day in Ottawa?
I love downtown. I absolutely adore the environment it has to offer: shopping, yummy restaurants and everything I could ever ask for. Some of my all time favourite places to shop would be Aritzia, MAC, Club Monaco and Jacob. Throw all those stores together with some delicious mussels from Mangia and some gelato from Picolo Grande and you have my perfect day.
Thank you for sharing your story with us Bronwyn, you have put an incredible amount of work towards this very good cause! To support Bronwyn and Lupus Ontario please click here.