Yolanda Rodriguez, 56, of Coney Island never thought she would walk the runway.
But on Wednesday, November 30, she worked the Pink Runway Fashion Show with 22 other breast cancer survivors to raise funds for the Maimonides Breast Cancer Center in Boro Park.
Over 500 people attended the event, which was held at the Marquee nightclub, 289 10th Avenue in Manhattan from 7 to 10 p.m.
“For me, it was another year, another year that I had,” Rodriguez said the day after the event. “I was able to stand there proudly and I’m going to be here for my grandchildren and I’m going to be here for another Christmas.
“I felt like I was on top of the world last night,” she added.
Rodriguez, who has Stage 4 breast cancer, was first diagnosed at another hospital about three years and five months ago. However, she didn’t like the treatments there and was unsure if she had been diagnosed correctly. So, she went to Maimonides for a second opinion and the diagnosis was confirmed.
“It was going full force and it was very aggressive and it had to be stopped right away,” she said. “[The doctors] gave me my options and I agreed with what they wanted to do. And thank God I did, because I’m here today to talk about it.”
Rodriguez said she wants other women to know that cancer doesn’t have to mean the end. Instead, she encourages others to fight the disease. She said the models that she walked with were all survivors and fighters.
“We all felt like princesses,” Rodriguez said. “All these people who stayed in the background managed to do that.”
Rodriguez said she didn’t think much of the event when the staff at Maimonides asked her to participate in it. But the closer the fashion show got, the more excited she felt.
“I can’t even express how surreal it felt,” she said.
In addition, her husband, Rocky Medina, attended the event with a couple of her friends.
“I’m blessed to have an amazing man,” Rodriguez said. “He sat with me through all my chemotherapy and tests, 32 treatments and radiations. He’s been with me through everything and I am very fortunate.”
She is the first one in her family to be diagnosed with breast cancer; thus, the diagnosis shocked everyone. However, she said the nurses at Maimonides made her feel important and she stayed strong and positive so her loved ones wouldn’t worry about her.
“My journey is not over yet and I don’t know when it will be, but I assure you that I’ll give it my 100 percent,” she added. “And if I can help anybody else, I’m willing to help anybody.”
Revlon, Marquee NY, the Brooklyn Nets and the NY Islanders sponsored the Pink Runway Fashion Show. The models got to keep the designer gowns they modeled. All the proceeds of the event will go towards breast cancer services and research.