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Modeling for a good cause: Family Crisis Council hosts annual High Cotton fundraiser

By Liz Moomey

SALISBURY — Men donning athletic gear strutted down the catwalk for the Family Crisis Council’s annual fundraiser High Cotton: Men in Sports on Friday night on the lawn at Hall House.

Soccer players, curlers, NASCAR drivers and more posed and showed off their props to raise money to help survivors of domestic violence, sexual abuse and human trafficking.

Family Crisis Council Executive Director Renee Bradshaw shared a story about a client who came to the center in January looking to escape human trafficking.

“The client did not recognize they were a victim of human trafficking but knew they could not survive living in fear and enduring an enslavement and crying themselves to sleep every night wondering what horrors awaited them the next day,” Bradshaw said.

After two weeks of “perseverance from everyone,” the woman and her kids were able to find shelter and escape human trafficking, Bradshaw said. Four months later, she still keeps the council updated on her life.

“The client said ‘I used to live in constant fear for the safety of me and my children. Every time my children went off to school I wondered if that would be the last time I would ever see them. I cried myself to sleep every night.’”

Bradshaw continued: “‘Now for the first time in years I feel safe. Now we are happy. I didn’t have any hope before, but now I have hope.’”

Bradshaw said it is the honor of the Family Crisis Council to support and empower their clients.

She explained she didn’t want to be a downer but wanted to share a story of the impact the Family Crisis Council has.

The night, though, was filled with laughs as Cindi Graham and Mary Ann McCubbin MCed the event making jokes. Graham said as a golfer strutted down the catwalk, that she loved golf, because it was perfect if you wanted to take a nap. McCubbin threw a flag on the stage urging the model to bend over and pick it up.

Rourke Burton, a high schooler who dressed as a tennis player, was asked to model by Graham who said it was good cause.

“I had a really good time, especially getting up there and getting show off some moves,” Burton said. While on stage, he had someone throw a tennis ball at him and he hit it back to them.

Robert Jones was dresses as a rower. He said he doesn’t mind modeling off and being silly because it is for a good cause.

“There’s a lot of great organizations in town, but I have to say this is one of the more important, because they do help women that are at a bad point in their life,” Jones said. “Any help we can do to help somebody like that is a good thing.”

Anne Cave enjoyed watching all the sports represented, some that she didn’t know were sports. Spencer Dixon, who works at the council, dressed as an e-sports player. Martin James modeled as a disc golf player.

“It was a great event,” Cave said. “We all enjoyed it and I think the Family Crisis Council is a very worthy cause.”

Bradshaw thanked attendees as the fashion show ended and mingling began.

“Please join us as we seek to continue to empower victims to break the cycle of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking,” she said.


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