Apr 21, 2010 Farah Jadran Pike Uncategorized
Runway show to benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central New York
In it’s second year, the Bella Casa Celebrity Fashion Show is set to take the runway Tuesday April 27 in the ballroom of the Nicholas J. Pirro Convention Center at the Oncenter in Syracuse.
Ronald McDonald House volunteer Michele Castrilli, of Liverpool, has been setting her sights on the 2010 benefit after the first ever fashion show raised more than $35,000 for the charity in 2009. A feat she said is still “unbelievable, given the economy.”
The event was held in a hotel ballroom in Liverpool last year, but when Castrilli saw every ticket sold and the location being full to capacity at 450, she knew they had to set their sights on a bigger venue.
Enter the Oncenter. Castrilli said she and the fashion show committee are hoping to have more than 450 guests this year.
Working alongside Castrilli are Jennifer Saraceni and Brian Hayes, of the Ronald McDonald house Charities of Central New York.
“This is an enormous job,” Castrilli said. “But having Brian, Jennifer and all the volunteers makes this an enjoyably and encouraging event.”
The fashion show’s proceeds will benefit the House at 1027 East Genesee St., in its mission to provide for families that require lodging while their child is receiving medical care for a life-threatening illness or injury in a Syracuse area hospital. In particular, Castrilli said the Golisano Children’s Hospital at Upstate University Hospital plays a big role in the the families’ the House serves.
The House has served more than 1,700 families since it opened Thanksgiving Day in 1982. Families must live more than 25 miles outside of Syracuse in order to stay at the House during the time of medical care.
The organization now has its sights set on the new House’s location that will have more rooms and handicap-accessible accommodations.
Because having a severely ill or injured child can be hard on any given family, Castrilli said she believes the House aims to make this time as “stress-free and as comfortable as possible.”
“It’s their home away from home,” Castrilli said. “They can have a home-cooked meal and a safe place to stay.”
During the planning process, Castrilli said she has seen great generosity from JCPenney at Carousel Shopping Center, Wegmans and local community members such as Donna Adamo, Rick Policastro, Mary Jane Lowery and the D’Onofrio Family.
Last year, Castrilli dedicated her volunteering and the show to her mother Billie Pollastro, who taught her about generosity, charity and the beauty of fashion. This year, she would like to honor her late mother again, and her late father Mike Pollastro, who taught her integrity and inspired her work ethic.
Castrilli said her husband Joe and her daughter Joelle Ross have been supportive toward the effort for the House. So much so, Castrilli said her husband received the nickname, “That Poor Joe Castrilli.”
“We went on vacation and he made sure to get my computer all set so I could stay on top of things,” Castrilli said. “If I didn’t have their support, I don’t know what I would do.”
No doubt about it, Castrilli said there are many people who have contributed to the event this year and last, of whom she is very grateful.
The fashion show will feature 50 local celebrity models including Thom Filicia, interior designer; Chris Gedney, former Syracuse University football player and NFL player; Laurie Fine, major gifts director Boys and Girls Club; Debbie Sydow, president of Onondaga County Community College; and the Syracuse Fire Department.
Clothing for the models will be provided by Elsbeth Rose, Eva’s Boutique, cate&sally, Giovanni’s Men’s Fashion and Formal Wear, Koolakian & Manro Menswear, Melissa James Dress Salon, Oleandor at Armory, Showoff’s Boutique and Spybaby’s Boutique.
A shopping opportunity will feature local vendors at 6 p.m. at the Oncenter, while the fashion show begins at 8 p.m. Several items will be raffled during the night such as two lottery trees that each feature $100 of scratch tickets.
Tickets are $50 each or $500 for a table for 10. They can be purchased at cnyronaldmcdonaldhouse.org.
Attached photo by Rick Policastro: Joe and Michele Castrilli pose for a photo at the 2009 Bella Casa Celebrity Fashion Show.