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Long Beach student fights cancer with fashion show

A Long Beach student recently spearheaded a breast cancer awareness fundraiser as a tribute to her mother, who is a survivor of the disease. 

Gina Symes, a senior, coordinated a fashion show fundraiser this fall that featured about 30 people — including students, teachers, parents and several breast cancer survivors — walking a runway in the school's auditorium wearing pink clothes ranging from robes to tutus.

The event, which raised more than $700 for the American Cancer Society, was part of her community service project for being a National Honor Society officer.

Symes' inspiration for the show came from her mother Michele, a survivor with whom she brainstormed ideas. 

"This was for me to tell my mom that I realize what she went through was significant, and I'm really proud of her," Symes, 17, said.

The fundraiser also included live music and dance performances by Long Beach students, as well as sales of items such as bracelets, cupcakes and keychains, Symes said.

In addition, various students assisted with the show's lighting and music, while her father Anthony helped build a photo booth featuring the slogan "Fight like a girl."

"People kept wanting to help," Symes said. "I had so much support from students and teachers."

Symes also participates in various school plays and musicals and is vice president of her school's Thespian Honor Society. 

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