Liverpool woman plans charity fashion show

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.

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