18-year-old Adam Crognale sat at the end of a large table in a conference room at Philadelphia’s CBS3 Thursday night, wearing a large grin.
Just moments before, he and more than a dozen other young adults took to the runway, sporting new clothing, hats and sneakers.
Adam is a cancer survivor, and that night was all about the survivors as Joy Juice, a non-profit dedicated to empowering teens and young adults through fashion, hosted a runway show at CBS3 studios.
“It really was my own special moment to shine and celebrate battling cancer,” he said.
2 years ago, Crognale learned he had Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma in his right knee.
But he underwent treatment not much later, and has been in remission for about a year.
Danny Alotta founded Joy Juice back in 2013. Alotta, himself, found solace through fashion after being diagnosed with cancer at the age of 17; he was just a high school student in New York City. He survived, and years later enrolled at Temple and graduated with a Bachelors, and soon after, a Masters degree.
“The irony for me is having cancer was the most impactful moment of my life ever. To be able to see the kids smiling for what used to make me feel better, you can’t put it in words,” he said.
Alotta travels back and forth from the East Coast to the West Coast, putting on his Joy Juice fashion show. The show features the Hodgkin’s disease survivor telling his story for about an hour. While he does that, about a dozen teens who survived cancer get makeup and other clothing makeovers in preparation to walk down a fashion runway to cheering friends and family.
“Walking down that aisle, I really just wanted have a good time, smile and take every second in. Just having all the parents around us and cheering, it was a great feeling,” said Crognale.
CBS3 Reporter Vittoria Woodill, and Philadelphia Eagles Safety Rodney McLeod hosted the show, itself. For many survivors, the night featured a photo session with the new Philadelphia Eagle.
“To be a part of this means a lot to me,” McLeod said.. “My grandmother passed away from cancer when I was in high school, so it’s very dear to me and to my heart just to see what Danny does with these kids who are so brave and strong.”
“Just to see them walk on the runway and really enjoy themselves was great,” he said.
For Alotta, it’s all about moments like this. He held a show similar to this one at Temple last year, but would like to have many more.
“Having cancer is now the most impactful event in my life again, but in a completely joyful way,” he said.