Kids with smiles, show of styles

Carrisa Dean wants a few patients at B.C. Children’s Hospital to be pampered for a day

Carrisa Dean

Carrisa Dean

Kindness is like a snowball, rolling down a hill. It’s like a whisper that turns into a loud shout.

“It just keeps getting bigger and bigger,” says Carrisa Dean, unfazed by the seemingly large event looming ahead of her.

What started out as a way to make kids at B.C. Children’s Hospital feel special, get dolled up and strut their stuff in new threads, has turned into an event that would make the organizers of New York Fashion Week proud.

Dean was initially aiming for a low-key runway show, perhaps somewhere close to home in Maple Ridge, a small fundraiser as a way to say thank you to the hospital and its staff.

“Everyday many miracles happen at B.C. Children’s Hospital and I am one of the lucky patients who receive care at the hospital,” says the 17-year-old, who was diagnosed three years ago with Scoliosis, a condition that curves her spin.

Scoliosis forced Dean to quit school sports, but the pretty, petite  Grade 11 student at Pitt Meadows Secondary School isn’t about to let pain or other symptoms hold her back.

“I’m not going to let it stop me from experiencing new things. I just have to find ways to work around it,” she says.

Dean had no idea that her plans for a fashion show featuring patients from B.C. Children’s Hospital would morph into an event at the Holiday Inn in downtown Vancouver, in a ballroom that can hold 200 guests.

Twelve models – aged four to 17 – will don three outfits for the show, all supplied by Sears, including spring fashion, evening wear and duds that highlight their personalities.

“I wanted to give them a day where they could feel special,” says Dean.

Her goal to raise $5,000 now seems an easy feat.

“It started out small, but as I talked to more people, it just kept getting bigger and bigger,” Dean says.


The Show of Styles, Kids with Smiles takes place Saturday April 23 at The Holiday Inn on Howe Street in Vancouver from 5:30 to 10 p.m. The event will feature performances by Marion Weston, Emily Taylor Adams and Sean Thomas. Tickets are a minimum $20 donation and can be purchased from the Town Cobbler in Haney Place Mall or by emailing


Carrisa Dean is still looking for in-kind donations for a silent auction which will be held during the fashion show. To donate, email or online by <a href=”″ target=”_blank”>clicking here</a>. B.C. Children’s Hospital provides expert care for the province’s most seriously ill or injured children. Many of the specialized pediatric services are not available anywhere else in the province.