Kicking off New York Fashion Week (NYFW), iBrain presented their first annual I CAN Do Anything fundraising fashion show at NYC’s Gotham Hall for students with brain injuries. The show highlighted uniquely designed clothing and costumes by Charles Henry Joseph. When you see these beautiful young models with individual assistants coming down the runway posing, smiling, and dancing to Katy Perry’s “Firebird,” it gives you hope! Proceeds from the event will go to support research for special education and related services for students with brain injury and brain disorders.
The show was extraordinary. I really didn’t know what to expect, but it was one of the most moving fashion shows to date. The children were so happy to be on the runway while the audience called out their names as they each received applause. Master Burgess pushed Jonna Burgess, his sister, down the runway in her wheelchair, with their father and grandmother looking on from the audience. It was a beautiful family moment.
“Our children are uniquely different and gifts to all of us,” said Linda Cohen, whose son Marco participated in the show. “At iBrain,” she continued, “our kids are not only educated, but they are also celebrated, and that was clearly evident at the show for all the world to see. I could not be prouder of Marco and the entire iBRAIN organization.”
Back in 2007, Patrick Donahue, founder and chairman of iBrain, was inspired to establish the Sarah Jane Brain Foundation, named after his daughter who was also in the show. Donohue created a non-profit law firm, Brain Injury Rights Group, to provide national civil rights advocacy for the brain injury community. “Tonight’s show was a spectacular one. Creative fashion, educated compassion, and creativity of our students came together for a priceless evening. This event was more than entertainment; it was essential in allowing us to continue our passionate, detailed, and specialized work in brain injury research and student support,” he shared.
iBRAIN is one of the largest brain injury special education programs in the United States. Located on the Upper East Side and in Brooklyn, it aims to ensure children with disabilities have a free appropriate education (FAPE). They serve children from ages 3-21 years of age. Based on a child’s individual needs, tailored programs are provided.