NEWS-_Cameron_BurnhamDuxbury resident Cameron Burnham walked in the 21st annual Couture for Cancer on Nov. 12 to honor cancer survivors, caregivers and physicians as they took to the runway at Bloomingdale’s in Boston.

Burnham was diagnosed with a giant cell bone tumor in her right tibia when she was 21 years old. After initial testing, it was determined the tumor was benign, but she would have to have it removed. Less than a month after her diagnosis, she underwent surgery to remove the tumor, along with the top four inches of her right tibia. Because she underwent treatment while on break from school, her surgery was mostly under the ra- dar around town, but the support of her medical team, friends and family kept her spirits high.

“I was lucky in that I did not have to go through chemotherapy or radiation,” she said. “The amazing thing is that I am able to have full functionality of my leg.”

Burnham received medical treatment from the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center and Dr. Francis Hornicek and credits his specialty in orthopedic oncology with her successful recovery.

“I think the world of him and am amazed by his talent,” she said. “He did a fabulous job on my surgery and I am very lucky to have him as a doctor.”

Nearly eight years after her surgery, Burnham was contacted by the Cancer Center to see if she would be interested in participating in the annual fashion show. She jumped at the chance and specifically requested Dr. Hornicek be paired with her to walk the runway.

As part of the fashion show, Burnham was invited to Bloomingdales a week before to try on outfits and prepared a matching ensemble for Dr. Hornicek, as well. When she arrived before the event, she was taken into hair and make- up, where she met women who were in remission and currently undergoing treatment.

“It was a truly eye opening experience,” she said. “As we sat there getting our hair done, they swapped stories about learning how to manage their hair as it starts to grow in and it was wonderful to have hair and makeup people there to help them acclimate.”

Burnham said that, while she did not have a cancerous tumor, she still feels a sort of survivorship and camaraderie with the cancer survivors who walked in the fashion show. She said she enjoyed the opportunity to walk to support cancer research and to spend time with her doctor and fellow patients.

“I would love to work with the Cancer Center in the future,” she said. “While I don’t necessarily identify with being a cancer survivor, being surrounded by the survivors and hearing their stories brought the connection back to me and the importance of raising awarness.”

Burnham said there is no sign of mestatasizing of either benign or malignant tumors to her leg or chest. 

"I am blessed to still have my leg and I am reminded daily by my foot-long scar to be grateful for my continued health," she said. 

Proceeds from the show support the Friends of Mass. General Hospital Cancer Center, a group of volunteers who raise funds to bridge exceptional medical and supportive care through innovative programs that help promote whole-person learning.