More than 320 ladies watched Chai clients light up the catwalk alongside professional models at the much anticipated ‘Chai Fashion with Averyl’ at Finchley Synagogue on Tuesday. The spectacular event which has so far raised over £90,000 will ensure that Chai is able to provide its expertise and specialised care to any member of the Jewish community affected by a cancer diagnosis.
The fashion show was a huge success, showcasing the stunning Autumn/Winter ’19/’20 collection from Averyl’s emporium on Finchley Road, including designers; Riani, Oui, Luisa Cerano, MaxMara, Paule Ka, D Exterior, Moschino, Valentino and many more. The fabulous runway show was a feast for the eyes, as the enthusiasm from the models was infectious! A delicious and beautifully presented lunch was then served by Food Story and their wonderful team.
After lunch, guests had a chance to hear from Chai clients and best friends since the age of 12, Rochelle Goldstein and Selena Levy, who spoke about how Chai helped them through their cancer journeys. Selena said: “My life changed dramatically six and a half years ago when at the age of 42 I found a lump in my breast…I was diagnosed with breast cancer. My world came tumbling down, as my worst fears had come true. Having lost two grandmas and an Aunt in the prime of their lives, and only the year before watched my mother go through the same cruel disease, I was petrified at what the future held for me. My first concern were my two young children and how to protect them through this incredible harrowing time. The guilt I felt was all consuming of the pain and worry I was going to put my family and close friends through. I was terrified of the road that lay ahead.
Throughout my mums gruelling breast cancer journey she was using the brilliant service of Chai. At the time of my diagnosis she suggested I go to them with my husband to help us navigate the incredibly difficult task of telling our two young children that mummy had breast cancer. I felt Chai’s support and advice was invaluable and their ongoing support helped me cope and ease my greatest fears for my children and then ultimately gave me the inner strength to heal.”
Rochelle said: “In March this year, I too was faced with the shocking news that I had breast cancer. My diagnosis came after a routine mammogram at the age of 49. To say my world had been turned upside down is an understatement. The shock was paralysing. I never thought it would happen to me. Fear overtook me…for my children, husband, close family and of course myself. After losing my father to lung cancer 9 years ago, bad memories and black thoughts consumed me. Having been through the journey with my best friend Selena, I was lucky to have the benefit of her experience and her guidance in choosing the best doctors, surgeon, medical advice and the wonderful services of Chai.
Chai opened its big heart to me, from the moment I walked through the doors I felt as if I was enveloped in a safe haven and very much part of an extended family, whose care didn’t just stop after the cancer treatment stopped. Its genuine concern was ongoing and unconditional. The services they provide from the counselling, complementary therapies, nutritional advice, yoga and so much more, helped me to feel like a woman again ready to face the world and lead a healthy lifestyle once more.”
Selena went on to say: “The doctors made us physically better but it was Chai that wrapped their arms around us both, healing our minds and our souls, supporting us in an incredibly caring and compassionate way. Chai have helped me, my mum, best friend and now unfortunately my dad through the hardest of times and their work is precious, priceless, confidential and vital. Chai so importantly continues to provide their care long after one is physically healed which is often when you need it the most.”
Chai’s Chairman, Louise Hager, said: ‘Averyl’s loyal commitment means so much to us all! Her enthusiasm and attention to detail mirrors Chai’s ethos, to provide a service that is a combination of expertise but always delivered from the heart. The room was spellbound hearing Rochelle and Selena’s stories. The money raised from ‘Chai Fashion with Averyl’ will enable us to continue to be the trusted and constant compass to all those who turn to us.”