BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Tricia Gorsich was nominated by the owners of a local McDonald’s location to walk in a fashion show for breast cancer survivors and said the first thing that came to her mind was the thought of having to walk a runway in a bra.
“I was extremely nervous, as I do not like to be the center of attention,” Gorsich said. “I was excited as so many dedicated their time, and money to continue to have a successful event that means so much to cancer survivors and their families.
Right before Breast Cancer Awareness Month began, Woman’s Hospital held its Bra Art Fashion Show. According to Keila Stovall, chief philanthropy officer and president of the Foundation for Women at Woman’s Hospital, 19 models walked in this year’s show. She said that they raised over $500,000 to fight against breast cancer.
“BUST is the feel-good event of the year, showcasing survivors and the people who supported them throughout their fight against breast cancer,” Stovall said.
Gorsich, the human resources director at Valluzzo Companies, was diagnosed with cancer in 2011.
“I have always been healthy, exercise religiously, a big runner, so this was a complete shock. I completed eight weeks of radiation five days a week, which was exhausting as you feel that your life is on pause,” Gorsich said. ” To get to the five-year mark of being cancer-free, I felt elated. Throughout my treatment, I remained positive, and I feel to beat anything — even cancer — it’s all about a positive mindset.”
“Tricia has been an incredible inspiration to our team for many years,” said Megan Wilson with Valluzzo Companies. “Through her journey, she has always been positive and strong. We felt she represented a true fighting nature and would be a great model on the runway.”
Gorsich has been with Valluzzo Companies since 2007 and McDonald’s since 1989.
Her bra was designed by Mariana Kalacheva and included a black corset top with gold branches adorned with pink flowers.
“I provided her a history of myself, and she took it from there. The attention to detail and that she handmade every piece of my custom took a lot of her personal time,” Gorsich said. “I feel deeply honored for her time to make me feel special.”
“The Foundation for Woman’s Volunteer Committee coordinates the event, including selecting artists and pairing them with the survivors who serve as models,” Stovall said.
Valluzzo Companies team members showed up to support their co-worker as she walked the runway.
“Seeing her thriving on the stage was not a surprise, but it was moving. The hope for anyone who has been through a tough journey is to eventually embrace that process and come out on the other side thriving,” Wilson said. “This moment was truly representative of this. The designs that are worn on the runway are also not a surprise. It was evident that her artists got to know her and how unique her story was and made her design to match.”
Gorsich practiced her walk the night before the event.
“I am not an over-preparer, and I feel I do best when I just go with the flow and feed off the energy of the crowd,” she said. “After the event, I was filled with joy and overcome with emotion to be a part of BUST.”
The Bra Art Fashion Show is a one-night event but people can vote for their favorite bra until the end of October for a separate event called BUST OUT. Wilson said that the company designed a McDonald’s-themed bra for the Bust Breast Cancer Competition.
“Of course, attending the event and celebrating her walking was the highlight of this program,” Wilson said.
“I was most excited to represent women who may have just started their cancer journey, and those who are survivors to show how strong we are when we support each other,” Gorsich said.