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Denise Albert Headshot

Are You a Mom On a Mission?

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Just seven months ago I posted a piece, "The Moms Who Do It All." It was just days before we presented our first fashion show at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week at Lincoln Center. The piece was my reflection on the journey to following my dreams and being able to accomplish something I never imagined I would have done.

And while the show was wildly successful, the moment it ended we began to think about ways to expand on the idea. The first time, we knew we wanted to create an event that placed the every day mom on the runway in clothes that all of us really wear.

But what makes our event different from every other fashion show is that our show isn't all about the clothes. Yes, of course, the clothes matter. The clothes on our runway really do showcase a wide range of affordable to splurge, daywear to evening wear, active wear
to maternity wear. But what also makes our show unique are the models strutting their stuff.

This time, we wanted to feature Moms On A Mission. Moms making a difference. Moms from all walks of life coming together to strut their stuff. And while we are center stage in the fashion capital of the world, at the largest fashion event in the universe, this show is all about moms.

And while many moms don't feel like they can do it all, the moms walking the runway look like they are to us. And if they don't feel like they have it all, that's ok, because to us, they are all so inspirational in what they are doing.

We are honored to be walking alongside GySgt Stephanie Borges, a mom of four who has been in the United States Marines Corps for over 20 years and Kerri Gristina, a NYC public school teacher.

As entrepreneurs and business women, we are humbled to be be walking along with Carley Roney, founder of www.theknot.com and www.thebump.com and Jenny Fleiss co-founder of Rent The Runway, and of course with Executive Producer and co-collaborator Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, of SWW Creative and the former Founding Fashion Director of Lincoln Center.

We are inspired by my cousin, Casey Santiago, for what she is doing to provide life-saving health services to pregnant women around the world with her start-up Kangu.org. And as someone who can't run a mile, Carey Socol is a mom on a mission as 50 State Marathoner raising money for ChristyTurlington's "Every Mother Counts" organization. The mom of two has run 23 marathons (15 states) with two more on the calendar this year.

All of the moms we are working with and who are walking are people we admire and extraordinary women who we consider to be moms who do it all including empty-nester Holly Pavlika and Lisa Sharkey, SVP Harper Collins and one of my first mentors in the business to Devi Thomas, the director of the United Nations Foundation's Shot@Life Campaign.

And what would a fashion show be without public faces we all know and love. Wendy Williams, Lisa Rinna and Stephanie McMahon may have fame and fortune but they too are also moms on a mission trying to do it all -- just like the rest of us.

But Bernadette Catrabone's story is one we have to share in depth. We have always said we are just two moms living our dreams. We are journalists, businesswomen and entrepreneurs. But there's nothing we love more than bringing other moms into our world.

And when we chose the winner of our Stylish Moms Contest with Laundry by Shelli Segal, we didn't even know the significance of our choice.

Moms across the country were asked to write in 150 words or less why they should be flown to Los Angeles and star in a photo shoot with us. It would be a day of beauty, a day to look and feel like a star and of course a free shopping spree. It would be a special day for all of us.

Bernadette Catrabone's few lines spoke for themselves. "I like to think I am a stylish mom, but more importantly take pride in my style. I am a bone marrow transplant patient,
and when I lost my hair via chemo, I was not going to let that take away my style and more importantly, inner beauty. My inner beauty comes from strength, and my strength came from my family. I am happy to say that I am four years out of transplant and struttin my stuff, sometimes at the expense of my children. I love my life! I love my style!"

Bernadette lived in seclusion, away from her husband and three children for 100 days during her treatment and is currently in her fourth year since the transplant and her first hospital free year.

We knew after hearing her story we would have a lot to learn from her but what she also told us was that she couldn't believe she had won. When we asked how she heard about the contest, she said she had been following us since Strut, The Fashionable Mom Show that presented at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. To Bernadette, who has always had a fondness for fashion, we were some random moms doing something cool.

There is no one better to strut her stuff down the runway during Fashion Week in September. She is the reason we do what we do.

Bernadette Carnavale taught us so much more than we have taught ourselves. On days when the little things bother us, we'll think of Bernadette. Having a bad hair moment, we'll think of Bernadette. When we are stressed and overwhelmed, we'll think of Bernadette. Because what she's been through is really something no mom should have to do. And that's the way to strut through life.

So yes, I still think we can do it all. And these Moms On A Mission are doing it all. And we will be together strutting our stuff to the music being spun by nine-year-old DJ Fulano, as his mom, also walks the runway.

So join us on Twitter tonight (Friday, Sept. 7) at 9pm EST #strutmission. Join the mission and support Moms on A Mission.