A fundraiser started by a Reynoldsburg High School graduate could one day be a national event.
Nellie's Catwalk for Kids was founded six years ago by Jenelle Krumlauf as a fashion show to raise money for childhood cancer research.
"When she was 16 years old, (Krumlauf) decided to do a fashion show that was a fundraiser for the Nationwide Children's (Hospital) oncology floor," said Jessica Lewis, marketing director for Nellie's Catwalk for Kids.
Krumlauf, now 22 and a recent graduate of Ohio Dominican University, is ready to take the fundraising effort national by embarking on a monthlong tour to spread the word about Nellie's Catwalk for Kids and to raise awareness about pediatric cancer.
"We've already started efforts by having four volunteer branches outside of Columbus in Cleveland, Cincinnati, Kent and Richmond, Ky.," Krumlauf said. "Our efforts there were to contact hospitals and help families. Cleveland and Kent already have organized a fashion show and the other two are planning shows for this coming year."
Because September is National Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month, Krumlauf said, she is planning to visit 11 cities in nine states to set up potential chapters of Nellie's Catwalk for Kids.
She has planned visits in Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and South Carolina.
"The goal of the tour is to raise awareness of pediatric cancer and to bring it to the forefront of the news by doing radio interviews and visiting high schools and colleges, meeting mayors in each city and spending family time at Ronald McDonald houses and hospitals," she said.
But first, this year's central Ohio fashion show is at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 2, at the Grove City Church of the Nazarene, 4770 Hoover Road in Grove City. Doors open at 6 p.m., Lewis said.
The show will feature 150 models, some as young as 3.
Lewis said all the models have to raise money to be part of the show. Many start in February with simple events, selling sandwiches or hosting a lemonade stand in their neighborhoods.
"We have a lot kids of from all over central Ohio, who represent 88 schools, 28 school districts and 28 private schools," Lewis said.
The event features a silent auction that includes family auction items, such as a hot air balloon ride and a vacation to Walt Disney World, Lewis said.
"The fundraiser provides financial support to families of children with cancer, kids who are currently in treatment," Lewis said.
Lewis' 11-year-old daughter, Hannah, who has cancer, is one of three emcees for the show.
"Hannah has participated every year as a model and is this year's emcee," Lewis said. "This is her sixth fashion show."
Hannah was diagnosed at age 6 with rhabdomyosarcoma, a cancer that affects bones, muscles and similar soft tissue and connective tissue, such as tendons or cartilage, according to the National Cancer Institute.
The scope of the fundraiser has expanded each year.
Eden Adams, who lived in New Albany, was in the first show, Lewis said. Adams was diagnosed in 2004 at age 4 with neuroblastoma, a cancer of the nervous system
Adams prompted Krumlauf to make the fashion show an annual event, Lewis said.
Krumlauf had planned to hold the fashion show once, but Adams told her it was so much fun she couldn't wait to do it again the next year, Lewis said.
Krumlauf took Adams' advice and the show has continued every year since, Lewis said.
However, Adams was too sick to participate in the second show in 2008 and died that same year, Lewis said.