Dunkirk resident helps rescue Ellicottville fundraising event

Residents in Ellicottville were wowed by a recent fashion show fundraising event for breast cancer, at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Ellicottville. Fashion Designer Bokwey Burnley, a Dunkirk resident, was the guest speaker at the event.

When Sue Young, a Dunkirk resident, asked Bokwey Burnley to be guest speaker at the second edition of her Pretty in Pink fundraising event for The National Breast Cancer Foundation, she was in a bit of a bind because the original guest speaker canceled at the last minute.

“My answer was yes. It was for a very good course. I have passion and compassion for things relating to breast cancer, and I thank Sue for giving me the opportunity to serve.” said Burnley.

Previously, Burnley spoke twice at Josie Christopher’s Circle Of Love Foundation, which works with ladies who have had a mastectomy. She gave fashion advice and encouragement to women who have had a mastectomy.

“When I told Sue Young that I would help her by organizing a fashion show for her fundraising event for The National Breast Cancer Foundation, I knew it was going to be a challenge, since it was only a few days to the event. However, I also had faith in the ‘power of community spirit,'” she said.

Her faith was not misplaced and she got all the support she needed to pull this off at such short notice.

She acknowledged and thanked SUNY Fredonia, Dunkirk High School and Brocton Central School for the students who modeled, Finishing Touch in Fredonia for providing the models with hairstyles and makeup, Basil car dealership in Fredonia for providing rides for the models, Maurices and JCPenney in Dunkirk for donating a basket and prize for the event, V3 Studios for providing photo and video coverage, Mary and Cory Wells and Marilyn Evans of Dunkirk for donating vintage hats and Premier Designs in Ellicottville for providing beautiful jewelry for the models to wear.

Bokwey is starting her own television show on fashion called “Fashion Forward” which will be aired on Access 12 TV. She is also working on producing a formal/evening wear clothing line that will help meet the needs of women who have had a mastectomy.

“Women who have had a mastectomy have special needs clothing-wise, especially when it comes to formal / evening wear. We help to restore their sense of personal beauty and dignity by making provision for these needs in the clothing design and construction. With the help of my God, I designed, and I am now making the samples of dresses that will meet some of these ladies’ dressing challenges. Our designs can also be worn by women who have not had a mastectomy, if they choose to. These designs are for every woman. This way there is no stigma attached,” Burnley said.