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Cancer fundraiser set to have a national presence
Photo courtesy of Kent Smith Photography
Reynoldsburg native Nellie Krumlauf, 21, has been running the non-profit organization Nellie’s Catwalk for Kids for the last six years and is hoping to take the organization to the national level in 2013.
By the age of 21, Nellie Krumlauf has accomplished more than many people do in a lifetime.
As a 16-year-old sophomore at Reynoldsburg High School, she saw a need and founded Nellie’s Catwalk for Kids (NC4K), a non-profit organization designed to raise awareness for children and teens battling cancer.
Fast-forward six years, and the college junior is ready to take the organization to the next level – she is hoping that NC4K becomes a nationwide non-profit organization in 2013.
“It’s a slow but steady process,” Krumlauf said of plans to take NC4K across the country. “It will take about a year. We’re starting conversations about having fashion shows in different cities throughout the United States, and we’re hoping to go national in May.”
NC4K started in 2007 as a way to get children and teens with similar passions to join forces to bring childhood cancer awareness to the forefront in a fun way. The first NC4K fashion show had 25 models and 200 guests.
This year’s fashion show, which is scheduled for Aug. 3 at Ohio Dominican University, has a “masquerade” theme. It will feature 300 models ages 5 to 25 and as many as 3,000 guests.
“Some of the models are currently battling cancer, some are survivors, some are siblings,” she said. “We have different people from all walks of life joining together to raise awareness for childhood cancer.”
The pre-party will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. and will feature live music, complimentary food, a cash bar, silent auction and more. The show will begin at 7:30 p.m. and will feature 300 models in fun outfits and masks. Tickets are $30 and can be purchased at www.catwalkforkids.com or by calling 1-800-859-9183.
Krumlauf, who will graduate from Ohio Dominican next spring with a bachelor’s degree in public relations and a minor in non-profit management, said her work with NC4K was “meant to be."
She recalled the first fashion show and how Eden, one of the models, affected her soul.
“Seeing the joy on her face - her one night to be a super star - and I knew I had to take this as far as I can,” Krumlauf said. “It was kind of a defining moment to me.”
NC4K strives to support pediatric cancer families both financially and emotionally. The organization helps families by providing rent/mortgage assistance, gas/grocery gift cards, taking care of sporting fees or other needs, taking meals to Nationwide Children’s Hospital, care packages, family nights out, fleece blankets and more.
“There is an extreme lack of resources and funds out there,” Krumlauf said, noting that Columbus – unlike some other communities – is blessed to have good cancer hospitals. “We’re rapidly growing and trying to keep up the pace. I feel like we can be that advocate for the families and be a cheerleader for them.”
It hasn’t been easy to run a successful non-profit as a college student, Krumlauf said.
“Once I graduate it will free up a lot of my time, and I will focus all my energy on this,” she said. “I want to go national and I know it is extremely possible.”
In addition to the fashion show, NC4K has other events throughout the year to raise funds and awareness. Several high schools in the area have Nellie’s Clubs, and they come together once a year to have a big dance marathon. Local high schools with clubs include Reynoldsburg, Pickerington North and Pickerington Central.
“When teens join together to raise a voice for childhood cancer it creates a powerful platform," Krumlauf said.
A new event, a pet fashion show, will be held from noon to 4 p.m. July 15 at Lifetime Pet Wellness Center, 454 Lazelle Road, Columbus.
“That is a brand-new concept we’re trying,” Krumlauf said. “It kind of started out as a joke, but it’s actually coming together.”
Registration is $20 and costumes are encouraged. Prices will be awarded for the cutest pets.
“It’s not going to be anything huge but it’s a fun way to raise awareness,” Krumlauf said.
For more information or to register, visit www.lifetimepetwellness.com.
In addition, a 5K run/walk is held annually, as is a golf outing.
As a non-profit, NC4K can use donations of time or money. There are many ways people in the community can help, Krumlauf said.
“They can sponsor a model for the fashion show, donate a silent auction item or themed gift basket, support our events by purchasing tickets and more,” she said. For the families, “Any type of new toy would be amazing.”
In addition, the non-profit can use just about any kind of office supplies.
“We can always use paper, pens – anything that is office related,” she said.
Looking back over the last six years, Krumlauf said she wouldn’t change a thing.
“We will always be helping families,” she said. “We dream very big here. I wouldn’t be so passionate about it if I didn’t know the need there is.”
Taking NC4K across the country is just another step in the process, Krumlauf noted.
“It’s given me the most amazing opportunities and experiences,” she said. “I couldn’t ask for a better life.”
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