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Haddam Teen Shows Style And Heart with Fashion Fundraiser

HADDAM, Conn. — Nicole Pedonti, a senior at Haddam-Killingworth High in Higganum, Conn., believes in the true beauty of women -- and she’s putting that belief into action with Fashions for a Fund. This fundraiser will take place up on the catwalk, but it will also make a splash for two worthy causes: the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the Westbrook Senior Center. 

“I want to major in event planning and minor in fashion,” says Pedonti. “As one of my classes, The Senior Project Seminar, I have chosen to plan a fashion show at the Westbrook Senior Center, in Westbrook, Conn.”     

Fashion Show
High School senior Nicole Pedonti (right) prepares for her fashion show, Fashion for Funds, with her mother, Donna Pedonti (left), and family friend Linda Bone. Mrs. Bone, who lives with multiple sclerosis, will participate as one of the models.

Pedonti is passionate about event planning, but also wants to make a difference in the world, which is why she chose to produce a fundraiser. Pedonti was inspired to raise funds for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Connecticut Chapter, by her mother’s close friend, Linda Bone, who has multiple sclerosis.  

“Mrs. Bone was diagnosed with MS seven years ago,” says Pedonti. “She is a second mom to me and I feel like it’s so important to help her and others who live with multiple sclerosis. Before Mrs. Bone was diagnosed I didn’t know what MS truly was. She opened my eyes to how debilitating the effects can be.” 

Pedonti says she admires how strong and fearless Mrs. Bone’s children — Vanessa, Jonathan and Elizabeth — have been over the years. However, Pedonti remembers how young Elizabeth Bone was when her mom was initially diagnosed and the impact it had on her life.  

“Mr. Bone passed away a few years before Mrs. Bone was diagnosed with MS,” says Pedonti. “Everyone was distraught and devastated with Mr. Bone being gone, but in order to get through it they supported one another and were there for each other, no matter what. I saw how hard it was for Liz to still be in high school and to drop everything in order to be there for her mother. She made me realize how much of a difference one person can make.”

Events like the fashion show — Friday, April 25, in Westbrook, Conn. — raise funds to aid the more than 6,000 Connecticut residents who live with multiple sclerosis, a chronic and often disabling disease of the central nervous system. There currently is no cure. Symptoms can include, among other things, numbness in the limbs, difficulties with vision and speech, stiffness and, in some more severe cases, total paralysis. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot be predicted.

Pedonti plans to have a variety of models in the fashion show, including one very special model: Mrs. Bone. The models will be wearing clothing and accessories donated by local businesses such as T.J. Maxx, Barneys New York and Cedar Chest of Clinton. Bella Vita Salon, in Middletown, Conn., will be on hand to style the models’ hair and makeup the day of the fashion show.

“The media sometimes portrays fashion and beauty in a way that can make people feel uncomfortable in their own skin,” says Pedonti. “I believe true beauty is in everyone and I plan to show it at this fashion show.”

The Haddam-Killingworth High School’s Culinary Class and Da Vinci Pizza, in Killington, Conn., will be providing refreshments before and after the fashion show. A silent auction will also take place for guests to raise funds for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and Westbrook Senior Center with a chance to win gifts, donated by local businesses. Donors include: Lennie & Joes Fish Tale, Kim’s Skin Care-Salon, Shoreline Health & Fitness, Total Hair, Saybrook Point Inn, Grove Gardens and many more donated gift certificates to help Pedonti raise funds.

Pedonti says she sees this as more than just a class project. It’s her chance to take a stand and give back to Mrs. Bone has who has been an important person in her life.

The fashion show will take place Friday, April 25, at the Westbrook Senior Center in Westbrook, Conn., at 7 p.m. Tickets for general admission will be $8 and $5 for senior citizens. Funds raised through the fashion show will help ensure ongoing research and fund programs through the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Connecticut Chapter. For more information please call Haddam-Killingworth High School and ask for Dawn Hoffman (860) 345-8541, ext. 172. To learn more multiple sclerosis, and its effects please visit http://www.ctfightsms.org/.


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