Individuals with developmental disabilities shared the runway with celebrities at a yearly fashionable fundraiser benefitting a local nonprofit organization.

The Arc of Livingston held its 25th annual Celebrity Holiday Fashion Show Thursday at Crystal Gardens Banquet Center in Genoa Township. The Arc is a nonprofit organization that advocates for people with disabilities to help them build independent and contributive lives. The money raised at the fashion show allows The Arc to provide services and support to those people and their families at no cost.

This year’s fashion show kicked off with a presentation from an individual whose family has benefitted from The Arc’s services. Charlie Tithof and his wife have three children with various disabilities that all attend public school. Tithof says The Arc helped him and his family manage challenges by advocating on their behalf in order to understand all of their children’s strengths and weaknesses.

Tithof’s story was followed by the fashion show, which features members of The Arc paired with celebrities and leaders from the area, modeling outfits donated by local businesses. Among this year’s models was former Michigan offensive lineman Grant Newsome and Larry Prout Jr. of Howell, who was previously drafted as an honorary member of the Michigan Wolverines. Prout says he’s been doing the fashion show for over a decade and asked Newsome to join him this year. Newsome says it was an awesome experience and that he was grateful to see so many generous donations made to such a worthy cause.

Another model to walk the runway was Arc member Cedar Butler, who has participated in the fashion show since its inception. Butler says he loves "everything" about the show because it makes him feel like a "brand new person."

This year’s event featured a silent auction and a jewelry raffle, in addition to the fashion show’s tradition of auctioning off a puppy that walks the runway with one of the pairs of models. It will take a few days to tally the final amount raised for The Arc. All proceeds will remain in Livingston County. The show had over 400 guests, including community members and leaders from local businesses and organizations that Executive Director Anne Richardson says have supported The Arc since the beginning. Reflecting on the fashion show’s 25 years of success Richardson says, “…it’s a celebration of the people that we serve and our community.” (DK)