Dozens of models will strut down the runway at Union Station over the weekend for Kansas City Fashion Week. But for one model, a 16-year-old from Lawrence, this weekend is more than just a dream come true.
“I like the big crowds and seeing all of the designers,” said Isabelle Ginanvin, just before she went backstage for makeup.
Ginavin wasn’t sure she would live to see herself walking in three designer shows, nevertheless walking down the runway for Fashion Week. Less than a year ago, the teenager was in the hospital undergoing chemotherapy.
“On May 5, 2015, I woke up with a lot of pain down in my stomach, so we went to the emergency room,” she told 41 Action News. “They put me on a lot of pain killers and did a CT scan, which found a giant tumor.”
Ginavin had a tumor, nearly the size of a volleyball, on her right ovary. Two days later, she had surgery to remove it. Doctors discovered the then-15-year-old had ovarian cancer.
“It was really hard. I was really confused,” she said. “It was just so hard from being so athletic and fit every day to having to ride in a wheelchair to eat lunch.”
As she underwent chemotherapy from June to August, Ginavin had to stay indoors. Her plans of walking down a runway were put on hold - until the doctors told her she was in remission.
She auditioned for Kansas City Fashion Week and booked three designers.
“Anyone can do it. You just got to try and put yourself out there,” she said.
Ginavin will walk down the runway all three nights and hopes to walk away from cancer for good.