The atmosphere in CAMH’s Sandi and Jim Treliving Gymnasium was electrifying. Over 400 people gathered to celebrate more than 30 brave clients who took the stage at this year’s Suits Me Fine fashion show. The Suits Me Fine boutique, which has been providing CAMH clients with complimentary clothes and toiletries for 20 years, hosts the event annually.
As family, friends, and colleagues were warmed up with a performance by the Archway Music Group, the client models prepared to flaunt their favourite outfits to a crowd of cheering supporters.
“The theme of this year’s fashion show – Watch Me Bloom – does such a great job summing up this yearly event, which is always a highlight for me,” said Dr. Catherine Zahn, CAMH’s CEO. “It is a realization of CAMH’s vision to transform lives and to create social change.” With bright spring colours and flower petals galore, the Watch Me Bloom theme was elegantly woven into the fabric of the event.
One by one, clients took to the runway, their outfits introduced by guest emcee and Canada AM cohost - Marci Ien. With music, smiles, and dance moves escorting every client’s walk, a tangible feeling of support, encouragement, and delight overcame the room.
Dirk Heinze celebrates by tossing rose petals in the air.
One client who was brave enough to strut her stuff is 19-year-old Cassandra Arthur, a CAMH outpatient working towards her goal of getting back to school. “This has been an amazing experience - I’ve never done anything like this before,” she said. “I’m usually really shy and anxious, but because of the work I’ve done at CAMH I feel much more comfortable getting up in front of this big crowd.”
Unable to attend her high school prom due to hospitalization, it was a dream come true for Cassandra to wear a dress and celebrate with such a supportive group. “It was scary, but seeing everyone cheering and smiling really fills my heart,” she said as she exited the stage.
Cassandra Arthur at the Suits Me Fine boutique.
As the event came to a close, Kim Bellissimo, VP of Human Resources and Organizational Development, took some time to thank Normal McDowall and Sokhary Pao, Volunteer Coordinators at Suits Me Fine, for putting together such an “amazing and outstanding event.”
Marci Ien applauded Suits Me Fine, CAMH, and the participating clients for exemplifying the “will, power, courage, and fortitude” to de-stigmatize mental illness and to promote recovery. “I applaud [these CAMH clients] for working towards getting better and for looking fabulous along the way!”
Special guest host, Marci Ien, addresses the crowd.
To make a donation of new or gently used clothing items to Suits Me Fine, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, Suits Me Fine is open Monday to Thursday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.