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Models light up Challenged Child event
Annual fashion show and luncheon are fundraiser for school
Nell Wiegand models an outfit from Saul’s on the catwalk at the Chattahoochee Country Club Thursday morning during the Challenged Child and Friends’ Fashion Show.

Although the clothes were beautiful and the women were stunning, it was the smallest models who stole the show in the Challenged Child and Friends' Fashion Show.

As little Cannon Deringer - a Challenged Child student - took the stage in his plaid shirt, dark pants, red vest and 100-watt smile, the crowd erupted with applause.

And when he threw his black jacket over his shoulder for added effect, suffice it to say he stole a piece of everyone's heart.

The annual fashion show and luncheon are a fundraiser for the school, which "provides high quality educational, therapeutic, nursing, and family support services to children with disabilities in an integrated environment."

"We serve more than 200 children each year," said Jennifer Gottsman, Challenged Child board co-chairwoman.

"The fashion show enables us to serve more children. It allows us to say even if you can't pay, we will help you."

Although she is a busy pediatrician, Gottsman - who is the daughter of Challenged Child and Friends founder Jean Willers - said being involved with the school is just as important as her medical practice.

"Something amazing happens at Challenged Child everyday," Gottsman said.

"As a pediatrician, I've been in the room with parents when (their child is diagnosed with a developmental disability). Challenged Child gives these children a place to go to school just like everyone else. My own children went there."

The models for the show were a blend of volunteers, students and Challenged Child supporters. When twins Britlyn and Brooklyn Caruso took the stage in coordinating pink and brown polka-dot dresses - accompanied by their mother Sarah Caruso - there wasn't a face in the audience that wasn't lit up with a smile.

"The clothes are always really pretty. There's always something that I would want to buy," said Sarah Brown, who attended the fashion show with co-workers.

"But the kids just add something extra special - that's not something you're going to find on a New York runway."

The show itself highlighted the latest inventory available at local stores such as Belk, Bradford Pair, Carol's Closet, Christopher's and Elizabeth's. Other featured merchants were Etc., Horse and Hound, Nest Feathers, Saul's, and Stork & Kid's World.


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