To open the Spring/Summer 2005 fashion week in New York City, Carmen
joined forces with Katie Couric, the National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance (NCCRA),
the Entertainment Industry Foundation, Olympus, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg,
Anna Wintour, Fern Mallis, Iman, Nia Vardalos and Patrick McMullan for the "Be Seen, Be Screened"
campaign. Under the tents at Bryant Park, Carmen revealed his personal struggle with Colon Cancer
and joined the NCCRA as an ambassador in their initiative to raise awareness of this curable cancer.
While Carmen has previously shown his support for 7th on Sixth's charitable initiatives, this season's
program struck a cord closer to home. A recent survivor of Colon Cancer, he wanted to take the
opportunity to help raise awareness of Colorectal cancer, otherwise known as colon cancer, as on
of the most deadly forms of cancer in the U.S- though it doesn't have to be.
Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of U.S. cancer deaths for men and women combined.
Every year, nearly 150,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with the disease, and nearly 60,000 die.
That is more lives lost to colorectal cancer than breast cancer and AIDS combined.
The message of the campaign is that most of these deaths can be prevented using available screening
tests and treatments for the disease. This is because colorectal cancer is curable 90%
of the time when detected early.
Through the NCCRA's fashion week initiative Carmen shared his story publicly for the first time,
and offered insights into his own journey with the disease and his recovery.
"The "Be Seen and Be Screened" campaign was a wonderful way to begin a dialogue that is
very important to me," Valvo explains. "Before I was diagnosed with Colon Cancer I was totally
unaware of my own family history relating to the disease. With no family history on record, I
was not eligible for prescreening by insurance and would have normally had to wait until the age of 50
for my first Colon Cancer screening. Had I waited my prognoses would have been much,
Carmen also worked with jewelry designer K. Brunini to create a "Tree of Life" bracelet, made of
sterling silver with 18K white gold acorn charms and .40 ct t/w diamonds and cream South Sea Pearl,
for Olympus Fashion Week's "Be Seen Be Screened" initiative. Carmen asked K. Brunini to collaborate
with him on this special piece because he was inspired by her "Shapes of Strength" collection encompassing
twig, vertebrae and DNA motifs. Valvo and Brunini created a one-of-a-kind twig charm bracelet
to symbolize the growth, rebirth and strength of life's challenges and triumphs. The
"Tree of Life" bracelet was auctioned off and the proceeds donated to
the National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance.